Question: Tips for Professional Development -- When My Organization Doesn't Offer Any

Let's say I'm a passionate employee who really wants to advance my career. Only problem is, my company doesn't offer much -- if anything -- in the way of training and development.

I love the company and the work they do. But what should I do to develop existing skills and learn new ones when my employer isn't really helping?

2 Expert Insights

Even if your employer provides “training” or professional development, it may or may not be helpful to your career. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for them – the opportunities provided by the internet are astounding.  But, here’s the thing. You need to be intentional about what you learn. Start by fully defining where you want to be 3-5 years from now? Do you want to be in the same organization, and do they have growth opportunities that make sense? Would you prefer to change employers, and which employers offer what you are looking for?
Once you have defined your objective, get clear on what makes someone successful in that role. Watch others – you can learn from good and bad. Isolate things you can learn, such as becoming more organized, delegating work, speaking confidently in public.
Now you have a plan – you have your objective and 1 or 2 good goals. You are ready to explore what the internet has to offer. Google the skills and look for credible resources. Many colleges offer MOOCs – massive open online courses. You can learn without formal enrollment. YouTube is a rich source, and there are so many more.
The last step – and the most important. Enlist the help of a mentor to help you evaluate what you have learned, and how you are applying it in your job. This could be your boss, or a trusted coworker. Tell them what you are doing, and ask them to observe and provide feedback.  If your learning goal is finite, celebrate your success. If the development goal is long-term, feel good about what you accomplished, and take the next step.

If you believe that training and development will advance your skills the thing you need to do is share your view with your supervisor. What you need to do is prepare a compelling set of reasons how the company would  benefit if the offer training and development.