August 2018 Educate

Career Catalyst: Professional Development with Limited Resources

Written By: Craig Petrus

While some organizations significantly invest time, money and people resources into developing their employees, other organizations simply do not have the time nor resources to do so. Do you fall into this category? Do you want to grow professionally but do not have the resources at your company to develop the skills and knowledge to grow professionally? Don’t get discouraged. There are several ways in which to seek out professional development resources that will have the same impact on your growth as a professional like those that you hear about, but don’t cost a dime.    

Look Inside

While your organization may not have a formal professional development program, why not take advantage of some of the resources around you? Look for development opportunities by seeking out your fellow work colleagues. You are surrounded by successful people that have grown their careers to some significance, why not seek them out for informal professional development purposes? Challenge yourself to go to lunch or schedule an informal meeting over coffee once a month with the leaders of your organization to explore their career, how they become successful and seek their advice on how to grow as a professional. Is your leadership team small? Then seek out your peers for development conversations as well. Learn from them on how they define success, what they think it takes to succeed in business, and what types of activities they do on a regular basis to develop themselves. By seeking out your follow co-workers, not only will you learn best-practices, but your marketability and positive reputation will grow as well.   

Whether they are your personal career goals or the goals of the organization you work for (or both), committing yourself to your job and taking personal ownership of your role will get you that much closer to success.”


Attend Meetings as an Observer

Keeping with the internal organization theme, ask your leadership or fellow colleagues to attend meetings that they are involved in, only as an observer and not a participant. By doing so, you will gain additional knowledge about your organization, how other functions run within your organization, how those around you think and make decisions and how others perceive the world of work. For those of you who are leaders, be open to inviting employees to meetings as observers, so as to provide them with these great professional development opportunities.

Free External Resources         

You don’t need to be part of a large, Fortune-500 company to access some of the world’s greatest professional development resources. You can find them yourselves via the internet, mostly for free. A number of significant business and professional development periodicals and authors offer up free subscriptions to a portion of their content either daily or monthly. Do your research about the professional development topics you hope to improve upon and learn from and the content will be at your fingertips. One valuable online resource is the Harvard Business Review. By creating a free account on, you can search articles written on topics such as Managing People, Managing Yourself, Leadership, Strategy, Innovation and Career Planning. Another great online resource is Fast Company. Here you can sign up to receive free daily or weekly articles on working smarter, planning your next move and becoming a great leader. It is also important to keep up with the latest news from around the globe. By establishing a free subscription to The Wall Street Journal, you will receive updates as news happens. Don’t forget about the industry and function you work in and the free online resources that you have at your fingertips here. Whether you work in Human Resources, Marketing, Finance or Supply Chain, there are many free online resources that you can access depending upon your expertise. Spend time researching what works best for you, and your professional development content is well on its way.

Book of the Month

I won’t begin to try and recommend any books related to building upon your professional development. There are literally thousands of books related to this topic that you can research and read. I will, however, recommend you research and find one that interests you. Books can have a significant impact on your professional development and provide information and tips from some of the best authors and leaders in the world. A good place to start your research is The New York Times “Best Sellers” list under the “Advice, How-to & Miscellaneous” category. Another great way to uncover popular professional development books is to ask those around you what they are reading and what they can recommend. Some of the best recommendations can come from those close to you, which will also shed some light on their career and professional development approach to their daily lives. Challenge yourself to read a few books a year so that you become a consistent learner and an investor in your professional development.

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