If you feel you have veered off the professional development path, perhaps now is an ideal time to get back on track. After all, professional development is a catalyst in becoming a more attractive job candidate.
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Five Strategies to Become a More Attractive Employee

Professional Development is an essential part of our career. Mention the phrase to a colleague and their mind conjures images of attending an educational training program. However, professional development reaches far beyond traditional classroom training.

As a Resume Writer and Career Coach, I frequently ask my clients the following questions: "What have you done to improve yourself in the last year? Are you adapting to new changes, are you keeping up with your industry, trends, technology, and other vital components to your career?"

If you feel you have veered off the professional development path, perhaps now is an ideal time to get back on track. After all, professional development is a catalyst in becoming a more attractive job candidate. Moreover, it can help you land an internal promotion or a deserved salary increase, and can position you to become more valued to teams, projects, and your employer. Of equal importance, it can help you be an employee the company simply live without and can't afford to downsize. The benefits of investing dollars, sweat equity, and time in professional development are rewarding.

Here are a few examples of professional development initiatives:

1. Technology. Despite the fact nearly every professional uses e-mail as a primary communication tool, many have no experience downloading or uploading documents via e-mail. Therefore it is essential to master these simple tasks. After all, you donít want to get a new job and be unable to handle these tasks! Learn how to use e-mail effectively, itís critical. Simply ask someone to teach you the nuances of your e-mail program. In an hour, you can become proficient in e-mail functions.

2. Software. If you donít know how to navigate through your computerís hard drive, find files, or perform routine maintenance functions, you should. If youíre not a user of Microsoft Word, you need to be. Word is the software of choice for nearly every company. On the same token, you wouldnít want to land a new job and not be able to use popular software.

Ask someone to teach you, take a course, read a book, or buy a training CD. There are many people returning to work after a long sabbatical who are not familiar with Microsoft Office, and itís essential in todayís business world. Donít let lack of software knowledge stop you from getting the job you want.

I challenge you to become a proficient user of MS Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. The more you know, the more value you offer. Mastering PowerPoint can make you a valued member of projects teams. Become recognized as a "guru" or "master" of some technology application so you will be valued, needed, and known throughout your office.

3. Foreign languages. Perhaps youíre a professional who travels globally but you havenít learned a new language. Well, maybe it's time! You will become a more valued employee if you can master a new language. It will impress prospective employers and clients, help you climb the career ladder, or lead to a promotion or a committee or team appointment.

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