The purpose of this article is to provide 8 tips to remote workers for overcoming the challenges of career development while working away from the office.
Here’s an article on a similar topic:
But, before we get started, let’s take a look at the researched based rationale for employers to provide career development activities for their employees:
5 Reasons Why Employers Support Career Development
Research appearing in the Sec. of Organizational Psychology, evidence that:
- career advancement has a positive impact on employee engagement with the employing organization,
- progression toward career goals promote engagement on the job and improves employee competency,
- career development positively effect employee commitment to employer,
- increase employee commitment to the employing organization reduces chances of quitting,
- positive perceptions of employer/employee support lowers chances of seeking employment elsewhere as abilities are improved.
4 Remote Workforce Career Development Challenges
Forbes recently reported that telecommuting participants of their survey were “38% less likely to receive bonuses” than their in office colleagues!
This is baffling as the same study from Alliance Virtual cited by Forbes also indicated that remote workers clocked-in about 50% more overtime and yet obtained the worse performance ratings from their supervisors. And, to top it off, the tended to reside in metropolitan areas exposing them to higher than the typical cost of living!
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Creating a professional development plan takes time, but it’s an essential tool for career success. Whether you’re looking to advance in your current position or take on a new challenge, having a clear plan will help you take the necessary steps to achieve your goals.
The 4 challenges remote workers may encounter when working virtually serve as the foundations for reinforcing the need for you to develop a plan of attack. Here are the 8 steps for creating a professional development plan that helps you hit your career goals as you work from home or work from anywhere.
Identify Your Goals
The first step in creating a professional development plan is to define your career goals. Get specific and write down what you wish to achieve. Do you want to advance to a higher position at your current company? Do you want to switch to a completely different field? Whatever your goal may be, make sure that it is written down and clear.
If your goals are hazy and lack specificity, you are less likely to achieve them.
One way to determine your goals quickly is to take a quick glance at your past or most recent employee evaluation. What targets did your employer list? Why? Most likely they were very relevant for successfully functioning in the role you currently fill.
Now that you’ve scanned your current goals deemed important by your current employer for the job you now hold, you are looking to move up right? In a job with greater responsibilities, more leadership. With these added, now we need to talk about added skills needed.
This may mean the management of more direct reports, heightened levels of accountability, mission creep, expansions of program calendars to include more teams and project to manage. A 30,000 view from the sky scope and the ability to ward off temptations to cut corners (integrity).
This leads us to the next point.
Assess Your Capabilities and Identify Where You Can Improve
Assessing your skills and determining what needs improvement is a crucial step when establishing a professional development plan.
A related article and video explaining why a workplace personality assessment is important:
Hopefully you are employed in the industry for which you are best suited. We are thinking too, that you are working for a company with a mission that matches your values. The free personality test helps you to reflect upon these questions. Your answers will propel you to be even more committed to your career and/or company or less so. When you complete the free tool you should have an internal dialogue.
An assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and abilities is paramount when seeking to develop and achieve your professional goals. By identifying areas where you lack skills or expertise, you can create a plan to address those gaps and improve your overall performance.
An honest reflection can help you prioritize the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in your career and create a plan to acquire them through training, mentorship, or self-study.
Take Advantage of Educational and Professional Resources
Gartner conducted a study to find that almost 60% of workers employed now will need new skills to effectively carryout the responsibilities of their jobs.
This is why education, professional development and training are tantamount for:
- keeping the job you have now
- preparing for the job of the future
- planning for career advancement and promotions
You gotta develop and evolve in order to grow. Like Lauren Bacall may have said, “standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.”
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You may be overwhelmed at this point. We offer life/career/job coaching if you are already employed, but seeking to maximize opportunities. We will walk you through the process and to help you chart a path for upskilling. Also, we will guide you in the right direction. We will help you target associations, virtual and in person groups, chats, Discord, Reddit, Slack and other places to join. Participation in professional activities will give you the fuel (information, connections and advice) you need to propel your career forward.
If you aren’t yet employed, you may need someone to offer job seeker support (basic plan, premium plan). In any event, our successes coach will advise you and help you locate professional development resources. There are a variety of options available, from free webinars, workshops, podcasts, and short form videos, live and in person classes to give your career a boost.
Online courses for getting a remote job
If you are a DIY (do it yourself) kind of person, we’ve got loads of professional development courses posted here on this website. We’ve also curated a list of places where you can obtain job-specific training at your leisure and in the comfort of your own home:
- Online, self-paced courses as low as $15.00
- Online, self-paced courses by job category
- Online courses by Alison (we are an affiliate)
- Online technology courses from Linux Foundation (we are an affiliate)
Research what is available in your area of interest and choose the activities that best align with your goals and learning style. If you want to enjoy the convenience and affordability of online learning, consider what direction you’d like to focus on. This depends on your interests, skill set, level of determination and your ultimate academic goal.
Certificates for improving your chances at getting a remote job (info tech)
For example, if a career in IT – whether it’s to expand your knowledge or change careers – check into what school offers programs like compTIA A+ certification. Such certifications are often required for IT professionals that specialize in disciplines such as network security, cloud computing, and data analytics. Be sure the program you sign up for is accredited and reputable.
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Low or no cost college degree programs to improve chances of securing a remote job
Maybe you’ve already completed a few online courses and want to take your learning and up-skilling to a whole new level. Then, perhaps you are ready to invest the time required to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree? If so, the opportunities are endless. Many top-level universities offer online, free and/or for a small fee these highly regarded credentials.
To assist you, our team as compiled a list of free, low cost degree and certificate programs. Please watch our video below for more information.
Set a Timeline for Achieving Your Goals
Establishing a timeline for achieving your professional development goals is essential to making real progress in your career. LinkedIn notes that it is important to set specific deadlines for each goal and include checkpoints along the way to monitor progress. This way, you can assess your progress and make necessary adjustments to your plan.
Why is this important? Because research has shown that professional development has a positive impact on one’s career trajectory!
It’s also important to prioritize your goals based on their urgency and impact on your career. Breaking down large goals into smaller, achievable milestones can help you maintain momentum toward your ultimate objective.
Keep Your Progress Documented and Organized
Organizing your documentation is an essential aspect of your professional development plan. Fortunately, you can achieve this using various PDF tools, which are designed to help you merge, compress, and split your files with ease. To begin, start with a PDF merging tool, which will enable you to combine multiple documents into a single PDF file (click here for more info from Adobe).
This will not only reduce the number of files you need to store, but it will also make it easier to locate specific information without having to search through multiple documents. From there, you can use other PDF tools to compress, split, and edit your files as needed, helping you maintain a neat and organized documentation system.
Speak up and Often
You may think that career development is a one way street, but it isn’t. Your professional development increases your knowledge, increases your productivity, improves your contribution to overall product and service quality. And, believe it or not. It rises your value while maintain the cost level (salary) relatively level. So if you are interested in developing your career, you must inform your supervisor. Professional Risk Managers Association suggests that you have a conversation with your boss. Share your dreams and present your career development plan and time table.
While you explain your goals and desires, you are explicitly saying this is what I am doing to get what we both want; what can you (the company) do to help? They argue, ” if you appear happy and are performing well in your career, it’s easy for your boss to presume that you feel satisfied in your career,” and may be less inclined to help develop you professionally when other colleagues are more vocal.
Lay the Groundwork for Entrepreneurship
If entrepreneurship is your ultimate goal, take steps to pave the way. Look into relevant business workshops and classes, and start building your professional network in your desired field. NPR suggests seeking out mentorship opportunities or shadow experienced entrepreneurs to gain insights and learn from their experiences.
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Building a robust professional development plan requires self-reflection, goal-setting, and actionable steps to achieve your desired career results. It can be scary to take the first step but remember that investing in yourself is always worth it in the long run. Whether you choose to sharpen your skills, acquire new knowledge by going back to school, or build valuable networks, prioritize your goals and commit to creating a roadmap that works best for you. Remember, professional development is a lifetime journey that requires patience, perseverance, and resilience.