This blog is on topics of interest to early career professionals who work with people with disabilities. Blog contributors have diverse perspectives on leadership, professional development, and success in changing systems to better serve people with disabilities and their families. For more information on Early Career Professionals, check out the website:

27 April, 2010

Self-Directed Professional Development

Because I am in the processes of transitioning to a new job that represents professional advancement, I was asked to post a reflection on self-directed activities that I believe are useful in contributing to one’s professional development. Assuming you have a general idea of what kind of job you would like to have next and the skills or experience you will need to be successful, its possible to take steps to enhance your existing skills and learn new things by becoming more aware (and taking advantage) of the opportunities you may already have to observe, read, and engage as you move you toward your goal.

Observe both the function and structure of the professional activities around you and try to make connections about why and how items were included or excluded. Observe the kinds of cognitive leaps and connections that people you admire make in discussions and meetings and reflect on how these people think through problems and find solutions. Determine the key sources from which the information you need to grow professionally is available in an ongoing manner—websites, listservs, newletters, journals, and other periodicals—and set aside the time each day to read something from these sources. Think of every conference, meeting, and committee as a professional development opportunity where you can learn at least one new thing, share information with others, expand your network of contacts, and develop relationships. Seek out opportunities to serve on inter-departmental or interagency committees, committees of any professional associations that you belong to, review panels for grantmakers, nonprofit boards, and so on. In addition to contributing to the success of the group, you have the opportunity to develop new skills, gain new perspectives, and build personal and professional relationships.


Paul Galonsky on April 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM said...
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