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    With a new year comes new personal and professional goals. It’s a time for resolutions. Some that will be kept and others — that gym membership maybe — that will not. One aspect of our careers that we often overlook is professional development. Sure, your HR person or manager will touch on professional development in your yearly review. And, yes maybe you did attend a seminar, conference, or even started an online course to satisfy a requirement — but what are you really doing to further your professional development?

    Technology has changed the where and how we work. But what about the why? Even if you’re meeting your short-term goals, what are your long-term plans? Committing to lifelong learning is critical in a time of accelerated change. Do you have the skills you need to adapt in an ever changing world?

    Consider these options for professional growth as you think and plan for 2019.

    • Improve your skills. Don’t just keep up. Focus on those areas where you need to improve. Technology, marketing, social media, and organizational skills are all areas where additional training can have both immediate and lasting benefits.
    • Continue your education. Enrolling in a degree program or participating in workshops to pursue certificates or other forms of professional accreditation not only expand your skill set, they also add depth to your resume.
    • Take on new responsibilities. If you work at a brokerage, consider taking on a team lead position. Even if you don’t have your sights set on the corner office, leadership and management skills can come in handy.
    • Participate in professional organizations. In addition to attending conferences and seminars, consider serving as a board member or join a committee. A new role of this kind takes you out of your comfort zone. Get involved in town planning, serve on the Chamber of Commerce, or work with colleagues and business partners to organize a public educational or charitable event.
    • Find a mentor. Taking on the role of mentee with someone who’s experience, expertise, and accomplishments you admire can be a powerful learning experience.

    The Bottom Line

    With rising interest rates, low inventory, and the possibility of decreasing home prices, private mortgage lenders and real estate agencies are slimming down again with further consolidation through mergers and acquisitions expected. Some of these changes are cyclical, while others are the result of fundamental changes. But, change of any kind is only disruptive when you’re unprepared. By committing to actively pursuing your professional development, you’ll be ready to meet whatever challenges the future may hold. Remember, making money is only one measurement of a successful career. New challenges make work interesting and true satisfaction comes from real growth.

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