Professional development: how to meet your goals in 2021 

Is 2021 the year for a promotion? 

If you want to progress in your career this year, it might be time to refresh your skills. Whether you’re looking to enter the world of work for the first time, you want to change careers, or you’re interested in pursuing a more senior role, it all comes down to your professional development.  

We spoke to Avado, the largest online provider of professional qualifications in the UK, to find out how you can meet your professional development goals in 2021. 


What is professional development? 

Professional development refers to the enhancement of your skills, abilities, and credentials, in a way that helps you grow your career. 

It involves continued training and education – whether it’s through taking an online course, learning a new piece of software, or anything else that aids your career progression.

Professional development also allows you to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and technological developments within your industry. 


Why is professional development important? 

Professional development is vital for the growth of your career, enabling you to pursue higher paid, higher level, and more fulfilling jobs that will help you to reach your full potential. 

Here’s how professional development could benefit you, depending on where you’re at in your career: 

  • If you’re brand new to the world of work. If you’re just starting out, professional development might be based around gaining basic skills and initial experience within your chosen industry that’ll help you qualify for the job you want. 
  • If you’re midway through your career. If you’ve been working in your current role for a while, the purpose of professional development is likely to be to pursue career progression opportunities, move into a leadership role, or change careers. 
  • If you’re an experienced professional. For those already in relatively senior roles, professional development could involve gaining the skills and experience to branch out into consultancy, self-employment, or more senior roles.

But no matter your experience level, professional development should never be overlooked. Not only will it enable you to be more successful at work, ongoing self-improvement will also demonstrate your commitment to employers. 


Examples of professional development

There are multiple ways to work on your professional development, and the route you take will depend on your overall goals and the steps needed to get there. 

Here are just a few examples of professional development: 

  • Gaining an industry recognised accreditation (such as CIPD)
  • Learning how to use a specific type of software
  • Networking within your chosen industry
  • Working towards a university degree  
  • Developing your soft skills (e.g. communication skills)
  • Carrying out an internship, apprenticeship, or work placement 
  • Taking up a hobby that’s relevant to your industry 
  • Learning a new language (if it’s useful to your career)


How to meet your professional development goals in 2021 

Not sure where to start? Here’s our step-by-step guide to developing your skills in 2021: 


1. Think about what you want to do

First things first, you need to set some goals. 

Start by dreaming big. What are your long-term goals? What do you want to achieve in 2021? Are you looking for a promotion? A pay rise? A qualification? A brand-new job? 

Then, think about your smaller, short-term goals. Are you looking to speak up more in meetings? Do you want to learn a new skill or type of software? Is there a particular project you want to head up?

Once you’ve figured out exactly what you want to achieve, you’ll be better equipped to carry out your professional development in a productive way. 


2. Identify your weaknesses  

So, you know what you want to achieve. But which areas do you need to work on? 

Based on your goals, do your research into the parts of your skillset that would benefit from growth. For example, if you’re looking to get promoted, what skills, knowledge, or experience are you currently lacking that would help you make that leap? 

If you’re unsure, checking the job descriptions of the role you’re looking to move into is a great way to see what employers commonly look for. In many industries, professional certifications and proficiency in certain programmes are particularly valuable. 


3. Fill your skills gaps 

Finally, it’s time to learn those missing skills. 

Luckily, there are thousands of professional development courses available to help you kickstart your studies. Many of those courses enable you to study online and from wherever you are, not to mention gain an industry-recognised qualification.

Looking for an online community of world-class learning? Try Avado’s Learning Academies in Marketing, People, Data, and Technology – which include everything from apprenticeships and courses to workshops, campaigns, and bootcamps. 


Why study with Avado?

Avado are the largest training provider for professional qualifications in the UK with an active community of over 20,000 students studying to secure their next promotion, achieve a higher salary or to take their career in a new direction.

With four learning academies in People, Marketing, Data, and Technology, they provide a range of holistic training programmes created with some of the most reputable organisations, including Google, CIPD, and Tableau. 

Offering over 26 years’ worth of experience in online learning, Avado will provide you with expertly delivered content that you won’t find anywhere else.

Other benefits of studying with Avado include:

  • Live interactive classes, not just pre-recorded
  • All-inclusive fees and 0% finance options
  • Award-winning Virtual Learning Campus
  • Expert tutors available via phone, email and online
  • An easy to understand, step-by-step syllabus


Find out more



Want to learn more about how a course could help your professional development? Enquire now.




Avado is the largest online provider of professional qualifications in the UK, with courses available in HR, Accountancy, Bookkeeping, Business and more.


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