How to Prioritise Your Time, Money & Efforts for Effective Professional Development
CPD is not something, which gets accomplished and then consigned to the archives. It is a constant ongoing commitment throughout your career. If you can follow the framework below and make a career-long commitment to CPD then a long and successful career awaits you in the security industry.
The first thing you must do is prioritise CPD, which means elevating it in your mindset so that you view it as the single most important investment which comes annually from your salary. You have to commit time, effort, energy, and resources to continual development, and before anything else in your career trajectory. This means it takes priority over your take-home income, pension, retirement fund, or your next holiday. Remember, CPD is the key to staying continuously employed in a competitive industry and if you’re not working then you have no paycheck to take home, put away, or retire from!
Having surveyed many industry professionals on the amount of money they budget annually towards CPD, the results vary dramatically from 5 – 20%. 10% annually would be considered a reasonable amount for an individual to commit in order to maintain a healthy level of professional growth. Though, the first steps on the development ladder can often be the most expensive. So once you have established a solid foundation of accreditation in different areas then it often becomes cheaper to supplement and refresh your skillset from there.
3) COMMIT YOUR TIME
It may come as a surprise to many that one of the biggest obstacles to developmental longevity isn’t a lack of funds. It’s a lack of time or a lack of commitment over time. Parting with the course fee upfront only requires you to be decisive for a brief instant, whereas seeing a training program through to the end demands commitment, focus and dedication. So in order to be successful in your quest for professional development, be sure you can commit yourself fully to the process in order to gain the most value and return on your investment. Assess emotional and psychological commitment and then block out time in your schedule for embarking upon a course. Being honest with yourself in this manner will ensure effective planning and setting a positive intent to complete what you begin.
4) TAKE ACTION
With this framework, you are then armed and ready to train and educate and prepare yourself for when those opportunities arise! Delaying action until the opportunity presents itself will mean that you miss out. There is a reluctance to make financial commitments in such a volatile industry, where investments of time and money are based on supposition, but this highlights the importance of making sure your analysis is as educated as possible so that you are well-positioned when the time arises.
Keep an accurate and up-to-date record of your CPD progress. This helps you document all of your skills and attributes in a succinct manner, whilst displaying your commitment to development to any employer. Use the BBA CPD Profile builder to help log your career development. There is a unique link to your profile which allows you to email it direct to any employer. Get Started >
CPD is not a one-off process, it’s an ongoing commitment throughout your career. Skill set and qualification requirements in this industry is a constantly changing field. If you take your finger off the pulse you’ll only realise when it’s too late and by that stage, it’ll be a very costly affair trying to play catch up when you’re unemployed!
How can be sure that your investment in CPD will reap you a positive return? How can you supplement your own knowledge base to make it less porous and make your decisions more informed? And how can you enhance your career development and improve your employment opportunities at the same time? Or to put it another way, how can you better position yourself as a well-rounded operator; a complete package?
A) GET INFORMED
Relatively speaking the industry is still burgeoning. Of course, private security has been around in one form or another for as long as there has been trade and a form of currency. However, in the last 15 years, it has developed significantly enough to warrant special attention from governments and regulatory bodies. But due to its relative nascent state, it’s anticipated that the industry will continue to evolve at a relatively rapid rate. So, it would behove you to continue to research and stay abreast of the state of the industry. In this regard read and watch the news, keep up and contribute to the industry blogs and forums, get active on social media groups and forums, and subscribe to relevant industry publications to keep your information and knowledge in top shape. Keeping keen interest in current affairs will give you insight into the expansion of global security provision. And by asking ‘what does the future hold,’ you will be more attuned to predicting potential hotspots and areas of conflict. Combining knowledge of emerging markets and growing economies with an understanding of where natural resources are located around the world will help you pre-empt where there will be a need for your professional services.
There are many resources and articles available on the topic of networking so I won’t belabour the point here. Networking is a concept that people in this industry have become very familiar with over the past few years. But that’s not to say that it’s always being done correctly or effectively. And often times, the mere mention of the word “networking” brings up negative perceptions and reactions in people. So, the single most important thing you need to remember when participating in any form of networking? Before you open your mouth, start to type, or begin to engage, ask yourself ‘is what I am about to contribute going to provide value?’ If you do this, genuinely and honestly, your networking experiences will be much more rewarding.
C) JOIN A PROFESSIONAL BODY
Membership in professional bodies helps you hone and refine your professional skills and gain a competitive edge. Professional associations and industry bodies are dedicated to providing members with resources that help them enrich their careers. Joining a professional body means that you have access to resources at your fingertips including publications, which deliver top headlines and reports on trends and state of play affecting the security industry. They can also provide a forum for advice and feedback because your membership allows you to engage on the same platform as experienced and influential leaders in the field. Oftentimes, the professional association is a close network of like-minded individuals that help each other stay informed, engaged, and they can serve as a great networking or job search tool where vacancies are posted on announcement boards. By becoming a member of a professional body, you align yourself with the core values and credibility that the professional body carries as a standard-bearer of quality and excellence in the industry.
D) PERSONAL ADMINISTRATION
On both the personal and professional side of things, be proactive about your personal administration. As a well-rounded professional operator, you always want to have the cards in your financial house in order. You also want to get licenced and fulfil the accreditation requirements. You might also consider registering yourself as a company in order to pre-empt the need to do so as a requirement of a potential job or engagement in the future. And as previously mentioned, administering your personal affairs include prioritising and planning for CPD courses, industry conferences, and events.
E) PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION
Always present yourself in the best manner regardless of the medium. It goes without saying that your reputation is your biggest asset. And this needs to be at the forefront of your mind whenever and wherever you present yourself, including how you draft your CV, create your CPD portfolio, and engage in any online platforms such as Facebook groups or forums. It extends from what you write, for instance in a cover letter, to how you present yourself in images such as the type of profile photo that you choose to represent you. Additionally, you exude your level of professionalism with your mannerisms and behaviour in person during an interview and interactions while you are on the job.
F) PROFESSIONAL COURTESY
Along the same lines of presenting yourself as professionally packaged through CV and interactions, it is equally important to extend professional courtesies. Or put simply: help others. Most of you who are reading this didn’t get to where you are without a little help along the way. So give back and help others. The effects of this will be profound both in your professional career and personal reward. But the key is to do this without thought of getting anything back in return, other than the reward that comes from the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped a peer along the way. And in doing so, you have contributed to improving the industry as a whole.
Seize the Moment
The time is NOW! Seize the opportunity you have to get ahead of the pack. Build momentum, get engaged, and stay motivated. A career in the security sector is amongst the most rewarding and satisfying of any industry, but it won’t happen by accident.
Creating a Development Framework
By Jon Moss