How to Amp up Your Professional Development, Even From Home

Let me take a wild guess: you’re reading this article at home. Perhaps during work hours (whatever that means now). Like others in the “less essential” workforce, your job has been and will be – for the foreseeable future – performed from the comfort of home, pants optional.

Despite those comforts, people have plenty of complaints about remote work, from inadequate home setups and noisy family members to endless video conference calls and job performance anxiety.

While the majority of the workforce is at home, career-driven individuals do have outlets to continue professional development despite restrictions on travelling and attending in-person events. It is all thanks to the same digital highway that you used to arrive at this article that innovative companies are using to create new iterations for socially distanced training – concepts like online networking communities; immersive, interactive 3D streaming content such as virtual training simulations and digital volunteer opportunities to help flesh out your resume, spur your personal growth and make you more valuable to your employer.

If you are starving for an educational outlet to bolster career development and enhance that all-important personal brand, consider these options:

  • Supportive Online Communities

    Facebook was a pioneer in giving disparate individuals a platform to bond over common ideas and interests. Today, thousands of online communities exist on numerous platforms for career-minded individuals, entrepreneurs and business leaders.

    For instance, if you are a Black woman entrepreneur looking for guidance from your peers, there is a group for that and it is called Just BE. Just BE allows Black businesswomen to share advice, lessons and stories. According to Just BE, nearly 98% of Black women-owned businesses have one employee – the owner – to do everything. Similarly, Hello Alice is a community hub that aims to connect startups and small business owners with local and online growth opportunities.

  • Virtual Training Simulations

    Tailor-made for times such as these, interactive training can be done easily from home and accessed on the employee’s computer, tablet or smartphone. Even frontline workers now have a chance to master processes without having to step foot into the environment until they are thoroughly prepared.

    Simulated trainers are not just more engaging than text; they are a more practical way to teach. These training simulations allow students to learn how to use expensive equipment or push simulators to dangerous failure limits without the unacceptable level of risk.

    Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, the ability to perform valuable training simulations remotely and without the need for costly equipment is a game-changer. This technology is affordable, intuitive and helpful for countless situations – from learning to deal with irate customers in a call-center to strengthening team-building skills by navigating high-stakes challenges.

  • Engage in Online Learning

    File:ESL online learning.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

    It has never been easier to access professional development courses online. Global isolation measures due to COVID-19 have helped generate and accelerate the availability and diversity of affordable and accessible platforms for learning and developing skills. Governments have supported training options with free or discounted courses; online courses span a staggering range of disciplines and certifications from peak professional bodies and universities worldwide.

  • Digital Volunteer Opportunities

    Volunteer Oppsortunities | Social Media Graphic. Credit: US … | Flickr

    Spending time helping out your local communities by lending your talents to nonprofits and other worthy causes not only benefits humanity but also broadens your perspective. Today, you have more opportunities than ever to use your unique skills for good – all while satisfying your need for continual self-improvement.

    Plenty of organizations need help that can be accomplished remotely, such as mentoring, advocacy, editing, graphic design, translating or conducting research. These commitments can be as flexible as you need them to be, ranging from an hour a week to months at a time. Best of all, it allows you to invest in your knowledge bank and expand your talents into new areas.

Being stranded at home indefinitely may feel stifling sometimes but you have the freedom to improve your career trajectory and future potential by learning while you wait for normalcy to return. So plug in and log on to expand your horizons and your resume.

Let us know in the comment section below how you are working on your professional development.

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