Four Ways to Advance Professionally November is National Career Development Month. This is a time when you can focus on ways to improve your professional development through a variety of ways. Whether you’ve been in a professional position for a while, or or still a student, evaluating ways that you can further your career will always be a benefit to you. What things can you do to develop professionally? Let’s review a number of options that can help you grow: Expand Your Set of Skills The “that’s not my job” mentality is the easiest way to hold yourself back from acquiring skills that you never had. Take on a new project when asked, offer a co-worker or other student assistance if you see them overwhelmed or struggling. Learning new skills while on-the-job helps you expand your professional aptitude and helps you perform your job better. Ask Questions A lot of times, we are afraid to ask questions, in fear that people will think we lack knowledge. In fact, the opposite is true. Being open to asking questions and asking for direction or help shows that you are engaged and willing to look for alternatives and options to help solve a problem for your organization. You will also find that those around you are probably more willing than you think to offer a helping hand. Be a Good Listener Being able to be a good listener is an important tool in building your career. Effective listening is key in completing tasks correctly, productively and satisfactorily. There is a reason many organizations consider listening skills as one of the most important traits in an employee. It also means getting the job done correctly the first time, and not frustrating those who might also be participating in a project with you. Set Goals, Make Plans and Include Milestones Those that are the most successful and satisfied in their careers have firm ideas of what they want to accomplish. Goals and milestones don’t have to feel like climbing a mountain. Start by setting small, more attainable goals and then build your way up to larger goals that will take more time and a concerted effort. Prioritize the things that are important to you, map out your plan, set a timeline and celebrate every milestone. Using these methods will ensure you help your professional development and advance both your professional and personal opportunities.