It pays to stay relevant.
Leadership and management trends change constantly, and it’s easy to fall behind. So educating yourself is a surefire way to stay with the times.
But where do you start? A google search provides a sea of options, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, we compiled our favorite courses to save you time and effort.
But let’s start by answering a couple of questions.
What is Career Development?
Career development is an ongoing process of decisions, experiences, and education that lead to your current and future position.
This goes back to when you were a kid; you may not have turned out to be a doctor, astronaut, or firefighter, but your educational experience and upbringing pushed you down a career path.
This represents the start of your career development journey.
From there, you either went to college, started working, or did something else entirely. And at a certain point, you ended up where you are now, which is reading this blog post (which I thank you for btw).
Moving forward, you will make more decisions and have more experiences that shape the direction of your career.
Why is Professional Development Important?
You probably already have a general sense of the answer to this question:
- More money
- Better job prospects
- Increased chance of promotion
- Better job satisfaction
This list just scratches the surface, but you get the idea.
How quickly your career develops is based on a number of factors and is largely influenced by company culture.
To get a gauge of how your company influences your professional development, start by asking some questions:
- Does your employer provide regular training?
- Do you work under a manager who supports and pushes you?
- Do your more tenured co-workers seem knowledgeable and motivated?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s possible that your career may develop at a slower pace. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quit your job, though. Because taking digital courses online is a good way to fill in the voids.
What Career Development Courses Should you Take?
This will largely depend on how far you’ve come in your career.
If you’re relatively new, it’s likely that you are coming to grips with the nuances of office life. So you’ll want to focus on courses that are early-career or entry-level.
For someone who’s been at the job for a handful of years, you’re likely trying to figure out that next step toward a senior-level position. So courses that focus on networking and communication skills will help get you there.
Managers and senior employees will want to look toward leadership and project management courses.
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Early Career Courses
If you’re just starting out, you may feel out of your element. You also have no real technical skills and it’s likely that it will take some time before your company realizes the value in hiring you.
So your real value comes from your attitude and work ethic. So it’s good to start with courses that are focused on building your interpersonal skillset.
Communication skills are critical to your success and can make up for other shortcomings. So start off on the right foot by taking this class from Lorraine Wiseman.
When you’re starting out, having the talent to start conversations with anyone will pay off. This course, by Alain Wolf, will help you master social interactions and make a powerful first impression.
Being a good listener is key to your career development. TED Talk speaker, Julian Treasure, shows how using this skill will strengthen your relationships with the people around you.
Confidence coach, Jenna Fischer, provides a framework to tame your inner negative voice and communicate in a way that will help excel your career in one of the best selling courses on Udemy.
Business psychologist, Robin Hills, teaches empathy and how to improve your social skills and emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is as critical to career success as any technical skill.
When you have a full time job and adult responsibilities, you need to learn things rapidly and retain them. Founder of the ZTM Academy, Andrei Neagoie, teaches you how to be an efficient learner.
Although you may not know where your career will ultimately lead you, it’s never too early to start a plan. Fortune 100 hiring manager, Jacob Morris, provides a road map to career success that you can get started on right away.
Intermediate Career Development Courses
If you’re more than a few years into your career, you may be on the cusp of transitioning into a management position. Perhaps this means you’ll be taking on subordinates or managing projects.
This is also the point where you’ll find yourself starting to branch out your network, both internally and externally.
You’ll also find that your level of stress may be increasing and that you’ll need to become better disciplined to take on your new responsibilities.
So you should focus on courses relating to building your network, advancement, and intrapersonal skills.
The relationships you build in and out of the office are crucial to that next step in your career. These connections will advocate for you and show you opportunities you may not have otherwise seen. PracticalGrowth teaches you the skills necessary to talk and interact with people.
365 careers has put together a comprehensive course that covers the fundamental theories and skills needed to successfully manage a project.
What are soft skills? Soft skills allow you to effectively communicate and interact with other people; otherwise known as interpersonal skills. Denise Fletcher has prepared a course that provides actionable tips for success.
Self-discipline becomes more critical as you advance. You are operating more autonomously and with less oversight. This course by Martin Meadows shows you how to break bad habits and develop productive ones instead.
With experience often comes more responsibility, and you may find yourself spread thin these days. Productivity and Goals Coach, John Paulsen, has created a course that shows you how to utilize strategies throughout the day to boost your productivity.
At this stage of your career, negotiation skills will help you ask for better raises and promotions. Management trainer, Chris Croft, teaches you how to successfully negotiate in a variety of scenarios.
The Life Progression Project has pulled together a course that shifts your mindset toward identifying weak areas in your life and build a happier and more successful existence.
Advanced Professional Development Courses
If you’re mid or late-career, you’re hitting your stride and poised for the next jump into a senior management or VP position. The emphasis here is on leadership and management training.
With that said, it doesn’t hurt to scroll up and see if any of the courses above address some of your self-identified weaknesses.
Lawrence M. Miller, with the Institute for Leadership Excellence, provides a structured model for giving employees or team members feedback. This is an essential skill for every manager or team leader.
This course is designed to help you gain mastery over your own behavior and maximize influence over employees and associates. This course touches on essential practical lessons that every aspiring manager must know and practice to succeed.
By taking this course from Peter Matthies with the Conscious Business Institute, you’ll learn how to create a culture of accountability and responsibility in your team.
This course helps you understand how to manage people and get what you want from your team. You’ll learn how to use various techniques and tools to manage culture change and progress in your career.
Learn nine core principles of transformational leadership that build winning teams and culture. This course starts by asking you to examine your own principles and leads you through a commitment to success.
The idea of an MBA in a box may seem laughable at first, however, 365 careers has put together a best selling comprehensive course that covers business strategy, management, marketing, accounting, decision making, and negotiation.
Ron Carucci shows how you can make yourself indispensable by learning the fundamentals of strategy and focusing on your company’s most strategic opportunities.
Always Keep Learning
Career development is an ongoing process, and it’s important to always keep learning. Knowledge, coupled with action, is how you set yourself apart from your peers.
So do yourself a favor and keep growing.