Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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10 Professional Development Actions that you can take to make you more competitive in today’s job market

January 26th, 2009 · No Comments

Note: I use the word "Actions" instead of "idea, initiative, etc.". It doesn’t help to sit there and worry about recession and job market. It’s up to each of us to Take Actions to improve ourselves, and take control control our own destiny.

  1. Improve your interpersonal skills by taking a class such as Dale Carnegie’s "Effective Communications & Human Relations". If you cannot afford to attend the training, read How to Win Friends & Influence People and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion . More importantly, make sure you practice what you learned from the class/books.
  2. Pick an industry conference in your area of expertise. Submit a speaker proposal and present at the conference. You might wonder if you have what it takes to speak at a conference. But, it’s actually not that hard to get an opportunity to present, assuming you can prepare some valuable content, and ask for the opportunity.
  3. Write an article and submit to an industry publication. Or, if you’re a blogger, write a guest post at another popular blog related to your particular area of expertise.
  4. Take a business writing class at your local community college or University Extensions. Also, you should read the two best books in teaching how to write: The Elements of Style and On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction  
  5. Start to volunteer regularly at a professional/trade organization related to your line of work. Be a regular, steady, and reliable volunteer. Set a goal to take on a leadership position in the organization. This will be extremely valuable for you to network with your peers, and get contacts.
  6. Join the local chapter of Toastmaster International. You’ll improve your public speaking skills AND grow your network.
  7. Teach a class online or at your local school in a subject related to you profession and area of expertise.
  8. Are you thinking about transitioning to another field? For example, I’m starting to hearing from folks who want to get into energy related fields. Find 5 to 10 people who work in the new field that you’re interested in, and request information interview with all of them. Tell them you’re not looking for a job. Your goal is to understand what they do, and ask for advice on how to break into the field.
  9. Start a resume blog, focusing on your experience and expertise. 
  10. Take a basic, entry-level class in accounting. If you’ve never taken accounting, I think you should be "accounting literate" since it’s the language of business. Regardless of your profession and job title, you should have a basic understanding of accounting.

What’s next?

  1. Pick 3 activities from this list, and complete them in the next 3  months. If you need someone to push you, drop me an email ( with your goals, and deadline. I’ll check with you once a while to make sure you’re on track.

Tags: Beat Recession · Learning and Growing · Product Management

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