Many employees become complacent with professional development right after landing a job. Even if you graduated with a higher degree, you should not stop learning to improve your professional capacity.

Having significant professional experience will help you land better jobs and do your job better. Growing your professional experience seems simple, but finding the time or opportunities can be challenging, especially if your current job does not offer professional development opportunities.

Failure to do so often means that you are more likely to fall behind your peers regarding promotions or change of positions. With the professional landscape changing much faster than ever before, here are some ways to grow your professional experience.

1. Side Hustle

Start a side hustle to gain new experiences and make some extra money. This could be through freelancing or starting your own small business.

For instance, doing freelance work exposes you to different projects and clients and often serves as one of the best ways to learn new skills and grow professionally quickly.

Doing so allows you to focus on growing specific transferable skills that are both applicable and relevant to your industry and workplace position. But building a part-time gig with limited time outside your day job is not always easy.

Consider carving out hours in your evenings and weekends to dedicate to your side hustle, but do not let it take away from your “me time” too much.

2. Continue Your Education

Self-improvement always speaks volumes in professional development and can be attained through certifications, specialized training, or education. The good news is that going back to school or enrolling in a specific course certification is much easier today, thanks to online learning.

Some of these courses can be expensive so consider asking your company if they will pay for all or part of the tuition as you will be applying what you learn to their company. Through such professional learning programs, employees can learn new skills and become more efficient at work.

Taking a class or two often helps workers succeed in both short and long terms, making it one of the best ways to help you grow professionally. Many online continuing education programs are for working adults, so they offer flexible schedules and accommodations.

3. Find a Mentor

Workplace mentorship refers to the partnership process that mainly focuses on improving the professional capacity of those involved. Think of it as a specialized relationship created to help improve communication, expand viewpoints, improve ideas, and grow professional experience.

So, find someone you look up to in your company or community and ask them to mentor you. Having guidance and learning from someone else’s experiences can help you better identify the experiences you need to have. A career coach could also help you navigate the new opportunities landscape and make wise career decisions.

4. Volunteer

Given the cut-throat competition in today’s professional world, volunteerism poses as the best way to grow and stand out professionally. Many nonprofits and charities are desperate for volunteers and would be happy to have you.

Although you will not be making money with this option, you will gain new professional experiences and give back to your community. It is a clear-cut method for employees to learn a new skill, put their skills into practice, and observe how experienced professionals get the job done first-hand. Doing so will help you have the necessary experiences and look great on your resume.

5. Find New Opportunities

Talk to your boss about new opportunities you can take on at work. Take the initiative and create your opportunities at work by going above and beyond what is asked of you.

You can opt to read books relevant to your industry niche or attend business conferences whenever you can. You could also start looking for a new job with more growth potential if you feel stagnant in your current position.

Growing Your Professional Experience

The job market is changing incredibly faster and becoming more competitive than ever before. But you can easily stand out and realize all of your career goals by constantly seeking ways to grow your professional experience.

Whether your company offers professional development opportunities or not, there are many ways to grow your job. Growing your professional capacity will prevent you from falling behind your peers, help upgrade your skill set, and set you up for overall career success.