Professional development

Professional development

Professional development doesn’t have to involve formal, structured classes or programs. Informal learning can be just as powerful as formal training. Start by identifying the skills you’d like to develop, then use this guide to consider the professional development options that best fit your current needs.

  • Volunteer for a project you might otherwise avoid due to skill level – use the opportunity to learn while at work.
  • Join committees/groups in your department or in your private life to build communication, leadership, and other soft skills.
  • Talk to your supervisor about your goals; discuss upcoming projects or opportunities to build a skill.
  • Read about new developments in your current field or a field of interest.
  • Take on new challenges in your current position. Look for projects and long- or short-term assignments.
  • Connect to University networks to find a professional mentor – someone who can help you identify skills to build and offer guidance. Academic Staff Mentoring Committee; Mentoring and Network Programs (you will need scroll down to find info on these programs)
  • Join a professional organization related to your interests. Attend meetings, workshops, and conferences offered by the organization. Join the board or committees within the organization. Help coordinate events.
  • Join a Community of Practice in your field of interest to find support and resources that might be beneficial.
  • Pay attention to conferences – these can be great opportunities for informal training and to connect with potential mentors who can help support your career goals
    UW–Madison Campus Conference Schedule