3 Ways Professional Development Can Help You Advance in Your Career

Happy workers are more productive and engaged in their work, so it’s no surprise that job satisfaction has become increasingly important to both employers and employees.

Fortunately, a recent survey by GQ Australia found that nearly 70% of working Australians are highly satisfied with their current job. Another interesting finding, however, was that although 65% of the employees surveyed have been working their industry for five years or more, 35% have no formal industry qualifications to support their career.

If this sounds familiar and you’re currently working in a job you love, yet lack the formal qualifications to back up your expertise, here are three reasons to consider investing in your education.

1. It will broaden your career prospects

Career and personal development aspirations are on the rise this year, with 38% of employed Australians saying they intend to seek a promotion or switch jobs in 2016, which highlights the importance of having the right qualifications.

Sure, you might be happy in your current job and your employer likely values your knowledge and expertise, but what happens when you decide to move on? Will a new employer who isn’t familiar with your work and track record feel the same way?

Aside from helping you demonstrate your skills to new employers, earning a formal industry qualification can make it easier for you to negotiate a promotion if you’re hoping to advance within the company you’re already working for.

2. Your confidence will increase, along with your earning potential

One little-discussed aspect of the pay-gap issue is that women are often hesitant to ask for a pay rise or negotiate their salary when starting a new job. Research shows that men are four times more likely than women to ask for a pay rise, and some experts speculate that this is down to a lack of confidence.

Women are more prone to second-guess themselves and often attribute their successes to good luck rather than hard work and skill. So not earning a formal qualification will not only increase your worth in the job market, it can also boost your confidence in your own abilities.

Approaching your employer to ask for more money isn’t an easy thing to do, but realising that you have the necessary experience and qualifications to back you up can make it a lot less daunting.

3. You’ll expand your network and stay on top of industry developments

Sometimes who you know can be as important as what you know. A recent study by Glassdoor found that candidates referred by employees are far more likely to receive a job offer. Investing in professional development will help you make new connections within your industry, and you never know when you might need a fellow student or teacher’s advice or referral in the future.

Research even shows that your network of personal and professional contacts can influence your mental and physical health. But aside from helping you expand your network, informal and formal learning will help you keep up with the latest developments in your industry and fill any gaps in your knowledge.

If limited time or money is holding you back from investing in your education and reaching your full potential, consider some of the more flexible options available to working professionals, from online or part time classes to the skills recognition process.

Have you recently gained a formal industry qualification or invested in your professional development in some other way? How did it affect your work life and self-confidence?

Marianne Stenger

Marianne Stenger is a writer with Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She covers everything from life hacks and career development to learning tips and the latest research in education.

You can connect with her on Google+ Google+ and find her latest articles here.

Twitter: @MarianneStenger

Website: www.opencolleges.edu.au
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