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Unfortunately, not every employer offers to send their employees to fancy conferences and expos to learn more about their field — but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for you to meet your professional development goals. You just have to get a little creative. Here are some easily accessible methods of getting in a little professional development on your own.
Books can literally solve every problem. If there’s something you want to learn, then all you have to do is open up Google, search for books on that topic, and either head to a nearby bookstore, order it online, or check it out from your local public library. Read said book and soak up all the knowledge you were searching for. When you’ve met all of your current professional development goals from that one book, you can go read another one on a different topic!
Honestly, please just read all the books. Books are amazing and can teach you so much. (We did some of the work for you, too — check out our list of the best professional self-help books!)
Listen to Podcasts
If you don’t have the time to read a real book, or simply don’t like reading in general, then try a podcast that covers a topic you’re looking to know more about. It depends on what field you work in, but there are so many podcasts out there that you can definitely find some good ones. You can listen to them while you’re driving to work, working out at the gym, cooking dinner, folding laundry, and even while you’re working at your desk.
Here are some possible podcasts that might help you meet your professional development goals if you work in a traditional business field (like marketing):
Webinars are kind of the best. They’re very pointed videos with specific advice for the topic. You can learn so much from the insights of others who have been there — and luckily there are some free ones out there. The best way to find a webinar is by finding a website dedicated to whatever field you work in or that caters to the audience you fit into. For example, Career Contessa is a great website for young professional women looking to up their careers, and they provide frequent webinars on a wide range of topics that will help their audience in some way.
Sign Up for Skillshare
Skillshare is a great place to go when there’s something specific you really want to learn. For example, there are tons of courses available on film, graphic design, email marketing, and even cooking. The only thing you can’t learn from Skillshare is how to perform brain surgery. (Just kidding — there’s probably a course for that too.)
Some classes are offered for free, but if you want to really reap the benefits then go with a full membership. It’s super affordable at only $15 a month (or $10 a month if you pay for the full year in advance). Meeting your professional development goals makes it all the more worth it.
If you’re more of an in-person type of learner, then consider checking out local classes. Community centers, public libraries, local colleges, and even individuals with a certain skillset offer classes on a wide range of topics that may appeal to you professionally. Do a little research on your local options to see what’s out there. There may not be a lot for your specific field, but you never know what you might find. And don’t forget to ask people you know if they’ve heard of anything. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.