Professional development can play an important role in your life and enhance potential employment opportunities. In these tough economic times, standing out from the competition is extremely important when it comes to advancing your career. By getting involved in additional professional activities, you are showing an employer that you have a willingness to learn and to keep your skills up to date.

There are many different options for professional development, which may include workshops, association events, and even post-graduate certificates, to complement your education. Some community agencies and post-secondary continuing education departments offer a broad range of educational programs, training and resources that may be related to your profession. Some of these programs offer a certificate of completion or recognition that can be included as formal training on your resumé.

You can also look for professional development opportunities on campus and through your current part-time job. You may choose to participate in a one-day workshop or weekend courses.

Your current place of employment may offer professional development opportunities such as workshops or specialized training. Even part-time jobs on campus can offer valuable customer service training and real-world work experiences that will enhance your career marketability. Seneca College’s student services department operates a formal program for student workers, called the student ambassador program, which provides workplace skills and professional development opportunities.

“We always challenge our student ambassadors to realize their goals and explore new ideas and training opportunities,” says Jackie Lane, who works with Seneca’s student ambassadors. Each of the selected ambassadors participate in formal workshops that enhance customer service relations, office etiquette and services for students with disabilities.

“Students can highlight these training sessions on their resumés,” Lane says. “The skills students learn are transferable to many other career opportunities.” She stresses the significance of always looking for professional development activities and events. “It is important to get involved, add value to your resumé and grow as a professional. Successful people are constantly striving for self-improvement.”

Every professional development activity you get involved with provides you with the prospect for individual growth, specialized training, and career enhancement. If you have a few hours or a few months, taking the time to get involved with enhanced learning opportunities is certainly a strong investment to your future and may help you get ahead of the competition.

– Tracy Rogers is the Career Services Co-ordinator for Seneca College, Seneca@York Campus.

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