Out for a Professional Development Course? Don’t Forget to Network!

networking

People always say, “An investment in your employees is an investment in your company,” but it really goes both ways in that an investment in yourself is an investment in your employer. One major perk of working for a company that encourages professional development is the opportunity to take courses to gain a new skill, improve an existing skill or simply get yourself out there and build your personal brand. You need to take these chances when they come and get the most out of them to benefit both yourself and your employer. I try to at least once a year, budget permitting!

I recently had the opportunity to take a course in Adobe After Effects – a comprehensive software tool to produce motion graphics and visual effects for film, video, multimedia, and the Web. Just two years ago I had never even shot a video (outside of my cell phone), let alone produced and edited one. Today, our company has a robust video presence to complement our inbound marketing efforts, in addition to the fun, internal videos we shoot each year.

If I haven’t made it clear by now, the classes I’ve taken have helped tremendously with this aspect of my job. However, there’s much more to be gained for both yourself and your employer by networking during your experience.

When you sign up for continued education you’re going to be surrounded by people from all different industries and walks of life. Make it a point to get there early, meet your classmates and find out why they’re taking the course.  You obviously have something in common! Grab lunch together as a group and dive deeper into each other’s backgrounds and experience on an informal level. You’ll be surprised with what you can learn just by talking to the people in class!

At the conclusion of class, be sure to exchange business cards and contact info from both your classmates and your instructor. You never know who could be a potential customer, colleague or consultant down the road!

What advice do you have for building your network during professional development? Tweet us @TheDavisCos.

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