Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

May 3, 2021

10 Things to Do For Professional & Career Development.

      Last month marked four years since I entered the workforce full-time! My professional career thus far has been entirely spent in the radio industry, which definitely can be a bit unique compared to other career paths (even others in communications and media). But one thing that working in radio does have in common with any full-time job? The ongoing opportunity to advance your career and professional knowledge by seeking out career development and networking opportunities! 

     While employers in some industries are really intentional with paying for or helping their employees seek out professional development education opportunities, that isn't the case at every job or company. I'm a firm believer that there are always things that you can be doing on your own to help yourself network with those in your industry, or gain more knowledge about your field. While not all of these are free ideas, a lot of them are! Since I know most of you aren't in radio, I am going to try to make sure most of these ideas aren't just things that would apply to the radio industry. Most of these are things that I have done (a couple I haven't gotten to yet)... but out of the ones that I have done I've found them to be very beneficial!

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10 things do for professional and career development: 

     *Regularly update your LinkedIn: This might be one of the most important things on the list, and this most definitely applies to every industry out there! Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated with your current education and employment information, as well as any professional accomplishments! LinkedIn is truly an incredible social platform. It's a place where you are encouraged to brag on your professional accomplishments, and cheer on the ones of others in your network. I try to share at least one professional related update post a month on LinkedIn (whether it's something from my day job in radio, or a blog collaboration or post that I'm proud of). 
     While for radio specifically LinkedIn isn't typically a place to find job postings, it can be a great tool for finding a new job opportunity in other industries. My friend Angela from The Thrifty Pineapple has an awesome blog post about LinkedIn tips for job searching that I recommend reading!

     *Join Facebook groups for your industry: This is such a great way to meet new connections and stay connected with industry related discussions and news in a more casual format! I'm in a few radio related Facebook groups, as well as a few for blogging, and I keep tabs on all of them daily M-F, as I love participating in discussions. One group that I'm in on Facebook that I really love is a women's only radio group. This one has been an especially awesome and safe place to ask for career advice from other female perspectives.
     If you're in radio or are a fellow blogger, I'm happy to recommend and add you to any of these groups. If you aren't in these industries, do some digging and see if you can find some active groups for your career. If there aren't any, maybe consider starting one!

     *Find a mentor, and utilize them: This might be the most important thing on my whole list! A good mentor in your industry is an invaluable asset. Especially when you're in your 20s and 30s or still in the earlier years of being in the professional world. I am very lucky to have found a few great radio mentors who are older and wiser than me, and have much more career experience. 
     My biggest mentor out of the few I have is my former radio teacher from broadcasting school. I've known him five years as of this coming summer, and since I finished broadcasting school we've never gone more than a few months without catching up about my career. He and his wife do their radio show on-air together and have for many years, and they both have so much wisdom about the industry to share. And I've been lucky to find a couple other mentors as well who have had their own cool career experiences and I can also gain insight from. I've periodically send my mentors audio clips from my show to critique, and seek their advice over the years about everything from job searching to contract negotiation to taking on new work responsibilities.  I hope that someday I can also be a mentor for a new grad who is trying to get into radio!

     *Follow and engage with Instagram and/or Twitter accounts for your industry: Such an easy thing to do, and it's fun too! My two favorite radio community Instagram and Twitter accounts are The Radio Fam (I interviewed the founder of Radio Fam, Marie, on my blog a few months ago here!) and Women in Radio. If there aren't any accounts like this for your industry, maybe think about starting one!

     *Read industry publications and sign up for industry newsletters: I love staying up-to-date with radio industry news, especially since radio is constantly changing. Stations are bought and sold and/or rebranded all the time, and notable names in the industry are often leaving jobs or accepting ones at new stations. The radio industry news websites that I visit most weekdays for news updates are AllAccess, RAMP 24/7 and Radio Insight. I'm not sure what the equivalents of these websites is for other industries, but it's worth a shot to see if there are any!
     I also love subscribing to a few radio and blogging related newsletters. I'm generally picky with what email newsletters I do sign up for since I don't like a cluttered inbox, but there are a few that I so look forward to reading. For radio, my absolute favorite is Ross on Radio by Sean Ross. I also enjoy the AllAccess Weekend Reading, and Steve Reynolds's Hot List. For blogging, I'm subscribed to all of the rewardStyle educational emails for bloggers!

     *Attend free webinars or Clubhouse chats: Especially after a year like 2020 that had such a focus on virtual technology for work, it seems like there are so many good free webinars to take advantage of these days. Webinars are a great way to mix up a typical work week, and get to learn new skills while you're at it! My favorite webinars for radio are offered by radio consultant Tracy Johnson- he offers a free monthly one that always features a great topic for on-air staff to learn about. For blogging, I try to take advantage every now and then when it works for my schedule with the rewardStyle ones. 
    Clubhouse is still a very new app- have you heard of it yet? I just made an account a few months ago. It's basically a well thought out free audio conference call app (currently available only for iPhone but an Android version I've heard is in the works). Think group Zoom calls but without the video. I've found some radio focused weekly chats on there that I've really enjoyed attending, especially The Radio Rally from The Encouragers. I still need to explore Clubhouse more, but I've already gotten so much out of it!

     *Join or get involved with a professional society for your industry: This is like the grown-up version of being in honor societies in college! I personally haven't done this yet, but in the future wherever I'm living and on-air I'd like to become involved with that state's association of broadcasters (Virginia has one, and I'm pretty sure all 50 states do!). 

     *Complete a certification or continued education that relates to your industry: Another thing that I haven't done for radio yet, but I feel like this is even more prominent in other industries as a way to grow your skills. Is there a free or low-cost course that you can take to continue to develop skills related to your day job? If you aren't able to find a free one, maybe you can make a case for your employer to pay for it. Some certifications that I've heard of people doing include Google courses (they offer a bunch!), or becoming Hootsuite certified

     *Frequently reach out to those in your industry that you admire: This is a little bit different then reaching out to a mentor- as that is supposed to be an ongoing relationship. For this- I simply encourage you to network as much as possible with others in your industry at other companies or in other cities/states, and reach out to say hello or congratulate them if they're doing cool work! You're not reaching out to pick their brain or try to get a job from them, just a way to make a new professional friend in your industry. I do this quite frequently with people in radio, and bloggers sometimes. I love reaching out to introduce myself and give someone a compliment about the great work they're doing, or let them know they've inspired me! 

     *Attend a conference: Although I haven't been to a ton of conferences, I totally nerd out about the ones I have been to! 2020 was actually supposed to be the year for me to attend my first in-person radio conference... but alas, darn COVID-19! I still attended my first radio conference last year, just from my couch instead of in Chicago (despite going virtual, it was still fantastic and I learned a lot!). There's just something so energizing and fun about traveling somewhere new and being surrounded by new people to learn new information. So much new- it's awesome and inspiring! A lot of times employers will pay for conference travel if you can make a good case for it, and if not (don't quote me on this) but I think it might be a tax write off for you potentially? For radio, I'd someday love to attend in-person Morning Show Bootcamp and Conclave. For blogging, I attended The Blog Societies conference in 2016- maybe someday I'll qualify for the rewardStyle conference rS the Con!

Whew- that's a lot of information! I hope this was helpful- maybe a few of these sparked ideas for you to use for your own professional development. If there's certain things that you've had success with that I didn't list, let me know in the comments!

God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese 

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