Professional Development: Your 6-9 after your 9-5

Professional Development: Your 6-9 after your 9-5

What is professional development?

Professional development is the practice of gaining new skills through continuing education and career training after entering the workforce. This can look like taking classes, achieving certifications, learning new skills and more. Separate from the daily 9-5, professional development is the steps you take from outside of your workday to enhance your skills and achieve career growth. The journey to professional development is ongoing and can be remembered with the acronym ACE: apply knowledge, career capital, exponential growth.

Apply Knowledge

Most people are familiar with the proverb “knowledge is power,” but does knowledge itself translate to power? Consider this quote by Dale Carnegie: “Knowledge is not power until it is applied.” To be empowered by knowledge, you must exercise what you have learned. So, what constitutes the term ‘applied knowledge’? Applied knowledge is known as experiential or hands-on learning. According to the American Society for Training & Development, 75% of adult learners learn through experience. Part of the professional development process includes taking the initiative to learn and practice various concepts and skills outside of the workplace. Then, you can apply your learned skills in professional settings to increase your career capital.

Career Capital

Career capital refers to the tools in your toolbox that you can leverage to increase professional value. Any knowledge, skill, credential, connection or resource you possess is an example of your career capital. Increase your career capital though education, experience and opportunity. Career capital comes in many different forms. Movement Capital is the skills, knowledge, competencies and attitudes that influence your career mobility opportunities, and in turn influences your likelihood of success (Forrier Sels & Stynen, 2009). Networking with other professionals within your organization and outside of your organization adds more tools in your career capital toolbox. Continuous education is another way to increase your capital, whether you are learning on the job, gaining credentials, volunteering or taking classes.

Exponential Growth

There are two types of growth you can achieve in your career path: linear and exponential. Linear growth is sustainable growth over time. Exponential growth is significant, incremental improvement over time. Individuals who grow exponentially have tremendous impact and success within their company and profession. What sets apart the linear growers from the exponential growers and how does one achieve exponential growth? Professional development and a growth mindset. Growing your career capital and applying your toolbox of knowledge consistently will increase your likelihood of success. Developing a ‘growth mindset’ will change the way you think about yourself and your career path. People with a growth mindset have the belief that their abilities can always grow, despite setbacks and challenges, through consistent efforts. Facing your fears, listening to peers, and committing to your development are small steps you can take to build your confidence and adjust your mindset.


Professional Development does not happen overnight. Making constant efforts in learning, applying that knowledge, increasing your career capital and achieving exponential growth takes time. However, there is no better time than the present to increase your abilities and strive for success. By making small yet consistent efforts and committing to your professional development, you are setting yourself up for success. If you want to ACE your career, you must commit to professional development!

RELI Group is invested in the success of its employees, and that is why we offer both continuing education and professional development benefits to all full-time employees. Interested in joining Team RELI? Check out our current job openings and apply today!