Professional development is critical for continuous education and growth purposes. But, many offices aren’t able to send their staff to multi-day conferences or specialized training and institutes. Thus, we must be able to adapt and think about ways we can leverage available resources such as the ACPA/NASPA Core Competencies. Here are three quick ways to think about incorporating the framework into your professional growth for 2018.
Conduct a Competency Audit
While this may seem obvious, it is important to sit down and audit where you job prepares you in terms of the ten overall competencies. While the general framework gives recommendations for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, it is another thing to actually contextualize these categories within your functional areas. Do the intermediate and advanced levels match how you are supposed to do this work? Do the competencies forecast the emerging trends and issues in your area? Have you had opportunities to critically synthesize and evaluate the meaning of your experiences thus far? All in all, the competencies can highlight gaps or areas for growth in a way that may not be being explored within the general day-to-day operations.
Leverage Competencies to Explore New Projects, Tasks, or Experiences
The competency areas can also be used as a framework for dialogue between employees and supervisors to explore different domains of success. Leverage the competencies in your next annual performance review and explore how you can learn and grow within the realities of your department or office. While you may not be able to attend a regional or national conference, there may be local and inner-institutional opportunities that may give you new information or exposure to a competency. These competencies are intended to help produce well-rounded higher education professionals and the framework provides tangible language to use related to functional areas and a career trajectory. Take some time to reflect on how it can be of use to you and your supervisor’s conversations.
Explore your Job Search through a Competency Lens
While the competencies should be applied in your current role, they can also be helpful in identifying where you want to go. As you consider your next professional experience, think about ways the competencies can be leverages and expected. Do you foresee the need for advanced level knowledge in certain areas over others? Does the competency list highlight gaps you may need for the next step? Don’t be afraid to have conversations with relevant professionals across your institution to give more insight and context to the future.
All in all, the process of professional development doesn’t have to be a hidden gem totally dependent on money. Explore how the competencies can work for you and make 2018 a great one!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Paige Erhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.