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Regardless of the industry you’re in, you’re likely on a constant search for tools and resources to help you learn new skills and brush up on concepts you’ve already learned to propel yourself up the career ladder. As your career progresses, don’t underestimate the power of networking. Most people think of networking when they’re on the search for a new job, but you don’t have to be job-hunting to benefit from the power of your peers. After all, it can be a refreshing and enlightening experience to have a conversation with those in your industry. Before you commit to the substantial time and money needed to pursue another degree, consult with some of your industry peers about their own experiences. Going back to school is a sizable investment. Will it pay off? Or are there other options when it comes to enhancing your professional development? If you’re not sure where to look for networking resources, it helps to reach out to your co-workers for ideas. Seek out related groups in your community, or consider joining a professional association. And for online networking, you can’t beat LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn is also a great source for updated event listings, giving you an invaluable opportunity to meet your online connections in person for further discussion. You may also want to seek out a mentor. This person can not only give you career advice, but can also offer a valuable perspective on what you can do to move ahead and take your professional development to the next level. Some workplaces offer mentoring programs. If that sort of assistance isn’t available at your office, consider approaching a prospective mentor to see if that person would be interested in meeting up for occasional conversations and feedback sessions. By making these sorts of valuable connections now, you can help achieve your professional development goals. Regardless of your industry or current job situation, it’s critical to not only consider your present job situation, but where your career is headed so that you can plan accordingly for the future.


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