Career Development Tactics

Career Development




Sometimes it’s good to confirm that you’re doing the right things.  I just attended a seminar from Walden University during my Residency where they talked about career development.  here is a short list of some of the key tactics that you should be doing:

  • Get published
  • Present at a conference
  • Assume a leadership role at work
  • Improve business processes
  • Volunteer for your professional association
  • Serve on a non-profit board
  • Develop a training manual

Getting published is pretty easy today with programs like CreateSpace and Smashwords.  You don’t even have to write a lot to publish something–just put together a short book on something you are good at.  Additionally, getting published can mean writing a blog like this.  WordPress is only one types of blogging sites that you can use for free.  Of course, getting published with short articles can happen with Yahoo or even magazines, to include professional journals if you follow the appropriate formats.

Presenting at a conference can be a bit difficult, but many local associations and organizations are often looking for presenters to share knowledge and experiences.  Building your skills through involvement with Toastmasters and college speech classes can help you become confident to speak in front of large groups.  After all, fear of speaking is the most predominate fear in humanity.

In regards to leadership at work, even if you are not in a leadership position, you can find opportunities to lead.  Many organizations have side organizations and special events that need leaders and those that don’t should–opportunity.  Step up to run the next office event, like holiday party, and look for opportunities to lead or at least participate on organization-wide cross-functional projects.  Doing this builds your skills as a leader, but also introduces you to many people at work that you may never interface with normally.

Everyone in their organization should have the mantra to improve the job your currently doing.  I have always focused on leaving my job better than I found it.  If you haven’t figured out that your job–I don’t care what it is–is a process, then you need to reexamine what you do everyday.  Everyone–even leaders have processes that they follow.  It’s understanding that you work in a process, detailing the process flow, and measuring the process is what leads you to improving the process.  If you haven’t improved what you do everyday, I would suggest that you don’t look elsewhere to improve other processes.

I am always a strong supporter of volunteering with both professional and non-professional organizations.  Again, like volunteering at work, this gives you opportunities to lead.  I would imagine that every profession has some type of professional association.  If there simply isn’t anything in your field, then now is the perfect opportunity for you to step up and create something.  A friend of mine and myself, even though there were other organizations related to our work, started a local professional organization called Continuous Improvement Professionals, which is now run by and aligned to University of Texas, San Antonio.  There are always ways.

As I said with volunteering, many nonprofits have senior-level boards that run the organization.  in many cases, you are not required to be an active member of the organization.  This can be a very rewarding experience.  I have served on the AFSA boards for many years as well as on a Parish Council and with a Make-A-Wish Board of Directors.

If you really want to leave a lasting memory in your organization, consider writing non-existing policies and training guides or manuals.  These tools last the test of times.  I have talked to people years later that still use training guides that I have built for different organizations and teams.  Additionally to providing much needed knowledge to your fellow employees, you also obtain a deeper level of understanding f what you are writing about.

These recommendations are all very good and ones that I have used for many years.  I definitely recommend anyone following them.


About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

One Response to Career Development Tactics

  1. Nmutadavid says:

    Great job John, my takeaway is;
    – make sure you leave everywhere you go in a better shape than you met it

    -self development is a life long journey that when embarked on, helps one stay relevant generally.

    – a significant thing about assuming leadership is that one gets to shine as a leader within ones comfort zone.

    Thanks John, this is a good piece to work with on my next presentation.


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