Ah, professional development! We all want it but who’s got the time? Between student appointments, prepping for class, teaching said class, administrative tasks and self-care – where is there time to squeeze in for professional development? Don’t worry – I got you! Here are 5 ways to grow professionally without ever needing to change out of your jammies.
With the internet constantly at the tips of our fingers, there’s really no excuse for not taking advantage of all of the resources out there. From YouTube to LinkedIn Learning, there are a plethora of experts putting out amazing and useful content and get this – it’s free! Just the other day I found a quick, 56 minute course on developing your professional image on LinkedIn that included helpful worksheets that I assigned my class to complete. In addition, there was a time when I really wanted to learn how to grow my graphic design skills and lo and behold – I found a 21 hour course on becoming a graphic designer. There are even a bunch of Linkedin Learning courses and how to use Linkedin Learning… I am not kidding. YouTube also has some hardworking content creators sharing their expertise with the masses. I actually learned how to bind my zine using a simple book binding tutorial. That doesn’t relate to higher ed at all but nonetheless, a random but sometimes useful skill to have. On the more related side, webinars fall into this category as well and are usually heavily advertised on LinkedIn or even through your office’s or institution’s newsletters. Webinars are great because they’re much more interactive if you catch them live as you’ll be able to contribute to the conversation or ask questions of the presenters in real time. While you do have to pay for some of them, most are free.
LinkedIn for Networking
Networking can definitely be the more challenging professional development to gain because inevitably you’ll need to physically leave your house and/or office. Or do you? I swear this post is not sponsored by LinkedIn but it comes in handy here too. I’ve met some great peers in my field through LinkedIn. The trick is that you do have to use it pretty consistently in order for this to pay off. I’m talking: following people, liking their posts, commenting on them, sliding into the DM’s! The more active you are, the more visible you’ll be to others and the bigger network you’ll be able to grow.
Reading journal articles doesn’t stop after grad school, much to my chagrin since they’re not the most fun to read. No memes, gifs, jokes or cynical sarcasm to be found anywhere. However, they are incredibly useful in keeping up with the current research and best practices and to gain inspiration for future research if you’re into that sort of thing. The best places I have found to begin looking for articles is through Google Scholar, through journals published by associations you’re apart of such as the NACADA Journal, through your university’s library and by asking colleagues for any recommendations. In fact, I share some articles I have found useful on my blog – you can find them here!
Relevant News Websites
I’m thinking specifically about InsideHigherEd and the Chronicle of Higher Education. As higher ed professionals, it really is part of our job to stay abreast of current trends within our field and Inside and the Chronicle make this super easy. You can even sign up to receive daily newsletters with the most recent and popular articles straight to your inbox.
Blogs and Podcasts
Obviously I have to mention this because there are some incredibly dedicated professionals who just want to share their passion for this field with a wider audience. Some blogs I have enjoyed are Wilds of Learning, Dances with Dissonance and College Info Geek. And I would be remiss if I didn’t take this chance to plug the podcast that I co-host with my good friend Codie Frank called Surviving & Thriving in Higher Ed. Our next episode is all about the evil that is imposter syndrome and will be available March 3rd on SoundCloud and Spotify!
What are some ways that you tackle professional development? Share your thoughts in the comments!