7 Ways To Improve Your Personal Development Skills
Updated March 29, 2023
Many people strengthen their personal development skills through education, mentorship and self-help advice. Understanding the best ways to improve your personal development skills can help you reach your full career potential.
In this article, we discuss personal development skills and how you can develop these skills for career success.
What are personal development skills?
Personal development skills are qualities and abilities that help you grow both personally and professionally. In other words, they are skills that help you nurture your personal development. Understanding and improving these skills is a process also known as self-development or personal growth.
Why are personal development skills important?
Personal development skills are important because they allow you to create strategic and tactical plans for personal and professional growth toward your goals. It can be helpful to hone personal development skills so you can naturally work them into your daily routines and use them to:
Achieve personal and career goals
Advance in your career
Improve your strengths and talents
Find fulfillment and satisfaction
How to improve your personal development skills
You can enhance your personal development skills in several ways, such as by taking classes and learning from the people around you. Here are seven strategies to help you develop your skills:
1. Face your fears
Fear can prevent you from growing and progressing. If you are afraid of public speaking, take a class or join a group that helps people become better public speakers. If you are afraid of taking risks, find a mentor who can help you make good decisions and build your confidence. Grow and learn by trying things you might not be comfortable doing. If you are shy, try starting a conversation or introducing yourself to new people at a reception or workshop.
Reading can expand your knowledge and vocabulary and keep you informed. It can also stimulate your mind and can improve your critical thinking skills. Try reading at least one educational or motivational article a day or book a month.
3. Learn something new
Whether you do it yourself or sign up for a class, learn a new skill or topic. You might, for instance, take courses to learn another language, a new software program or how to write creatively. Consider watching a webinar on professional development topics such as entrepreneurship or social media marketing.
4. Be open to feedback
Approach a family member, friend, colleague or manager, and ask them to give you feedback on a recent project or accomplishment. Use their positive comments as well as their constructive criticism to find ways to improve. Sometimes you need an outside, unbiased opinion to get a different perspective.
By interacting with many people, you can learn new ideas and understand how to communicate and work with different personality types. You can also meet people and develop relationships that might help you in the future. Network through industry organizations and shared interest groups, or attend conferences and events on topics that interest you.
6. Keep a journal
Writing in a journal every day or week can help you gain self-awareness and reflect on recent events, decisions and conversations. You might keep a hand-written, private journal or choose to share your thoughts and experiences by blogging. Use it to set and assess goals and progress.
7. Find a mentor
Talk to a mentor if you need help identifying ways to build your self-development skills. This individual could be a manager, professor, someone you admire or a professional personal growth mentor.
Personal development skills in the workplace
While personal development skills can benefit all parts of your life, these particular practices may be useful in the workplace and help you advance your career:
Be an active listener. Part of being a good communicator is attention to what other people say. Concentrate on understanding what your coworkers and clients are saying so you can remember that information and respond well. Use effective and professional listening and communication skills from phone conversations to job interviews.
Work well with others. Good people skills make you a valued team member. You should be able to collaborate with and motivate others. Cultivate your social skills to build relationships with colleagues, clients, customers and acquaintances of all types and backgrounds.
Organize your time, work and materials. Plan out tasks so you can complete them quickly and easily. Know what projects to prioritize if you are handling more than one. If you are well-organized, you may be better able to meet your deadlines and collaborate effectively with others.
Work through challenging situations. When dealing with a problem, assess your options and determine the best solution. Know when to ask for advice or research different scenarios. People who can think critically and work through complex problems are more likely to make good decisions both in life and work.
Believe in yourself. If you have confidence in your decisions, others may be more likely to believe in you. This positive energy can help motivate and instill confidence in those around you. You can handle challenges and reach goals better if you approach them with confidence rather than doubt.
Adapt to change. Be flexible so you can deal with changes in work and life easily. Adaptable people can work well alone and on a team, manage multiple projects, work under various conditions, accept new ideas and more. Being able to respond well to change can also make these situations less stressful for everyone involved.
Be truthful. Honesty is the foundation of a positive relationship with colleagues and supervisors. Practice good ethics and stand by your values. Integrity can bring you respect, satisfaction and a good reputation at work.
Be committed to and passionate about your job. People with good work ethics tend to be productive, reliable and determined to do quality work. This dedication can help you complete tasks on time and motivate your peers.
Guide those around you. Being a good leader requires confidence, vision and communication. People who build these leadership skills can help their team progress and be productive without being controlling.
How to highlight personal development skills
Convey your personal development skills on your resume and when interviewing for a job to show employers you can succeed in that position.
1. Highlight personal development skills on your resume
Create a section in your resume titled “Skills” that includes both hard and soft skills. List only the personal development skills that apply to that job. You might group them by category within your resume’s skills section if you have many skill types.
Example: Relevant Skills
Time management: Consistently handled upward of six projects at a time and met 100% of deadlines
Organization: Created an efficient online filing system for a large group of clients using color-coded folders and documents as well as tags
Adaptability: Adjusted workflow to accommodate additional responsibilities, including refined task scheduling and time tracking
2. Highlight personal development skills in your cover letter
Choose a few personal development skills that you feel are strong and most relevant to the job. Within the body of your cover letter, describe briefly how you would apply each one to that job’s responsibilities, or give an example of how that skill has benefited you in the past.
Example: As an effective problem-solver, I helped customers quickly troubleshoot their programming issues. The clients I worked with reported a 92% success rate at resolving computer problems under my guidance.
3. Highlight personal development skills during a job interview
List your strongest personal development skills when answering interview questions, such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What are your goals?” Describe your top skills, your plan for further development and where you have room for improvement. You can also use examples to show off your personal development skills.
Example: “During a period of tension in the workplace, my interpersonal skills and ability to form relationships helped unify our department. We became a far more cohesive and productive team.”
These are just a few personal development skills that can benefit your life and work. Self-development is a lifelong process upon which you can continue to improve. Focus on developing the skills that will best help you reach your goals.
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