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Design Your Professional Development Plan: 6 Tips for Black Women

Learn tips to grow in your professional and entrepreneurial life today!
An African American woman standing in front of white board
Beautiful African American woman in front of a white board

As a black woman, you may be wondering how to maximize your chances of career success, especially in fields where you might face discrimination or prejudice. Resources from The Black Girl Initiative will help you chart your course in any industry! Here’s how to design your personal career development strategy, from updating your resume to earning another degree to starting your own company.

Define Your Goals

Take a minute or two to envision your future. Do you see yourself at your current company or working for a different employer? Are you advancing in your field or getting your foot in the door of a new industry? Can you see yourself working as a freelancer or entrepreneur, or are you managing a team for a larger company? Let your imagination run wild, and jot down some big goals based on this vision.

Determine Your Action Plan

Now, work backward from your major, overarching goals. For instance, if you’d like to advance to a director-level role at your employer, determine exactly what you need to do to make it happen, and note when you’d like to achieve these smaller goals. You might write down goals like attending key networking events, taking on leadership roles on new projects, earning additional certifications, and more.

Spruce Up Your Resume

As you check your smaller goals off of your to-do list, you’ll want to update your resume to reflect your professional progress. Your resume should include sections with recent information on your education, work history and current role, and skills. If you don’t know how to format your resume, choose a template from a library associated with a free online CV builder. Once you’ve made your selection, add your photo and content.

Start a Business

Fast Company states that today, black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, which may be because black women do not always receive the support they need in traditional workplaces. Therefore, they strike out on their own instead. If you’d prefer to work for yourself than hold down a 9-to-5, you’ll want to establish your business as an LLC. This structure provides lots of benefits for business owners, including flexibility, tax advantages, and limited liability.

To save money, file on your own or work with a formation service rather than hiring a lawyer. Read reviews from a few different services to choose which one to work with.

Continue Your Education

Whether you want to advance in your current field, break into a new industry, or become an entrepreneur, going back to school can help you achieve your goals. For instance, if you want to start a company, you can earn your business degree. You can specialize in business, accounting, management, communications, or another specific area. To grow your business while studying, go here to choose an online program so that you can balance coursework and entrepreneurship.

Find a Supportive Mentor

For black women in the workforce, mentorship can be crucial to success. You can seek guidance from accomplished black women in your industry by looking for mentors within your workplace or through professional organizations. Girlboss recommends choosing a mentor who you genuinely connect with on a personal level, not just someone who has the title you want - it’s important to enjoy a real friendship with your mentor!

If you don’t have clear career goals, you might feel lost and unmotivated. By thinking deeply about your future and honing in on specific, achievable goals, you’ll be inspired to follow your passion. By applying these strategies, you’ll be able to head back to school, start a small business, and ensure that your resume is ready for hiring managers.

Looking for professional development advice specifically geared towards black women? Turn to The Black Girl Initiative! Visit our website today to become a community member.

A African American woman managing a business
African American woman managing her business

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