One thing I noticed over and over during the pandemic was that professionals working from home often conducted zoom meetings with bookcases in the background. I confess I would attempt to read the titles and they were often professional books. A professional library!
I believe every young leader would benefit from having their own professional library. Your education needs to continue when you graduate from college. A degree will only take you so far, my friend! We at Launch Leadership Development strongly encourage young leaders to start their own professional library.
You will need to stay abreast of new information, methods, tools, and technology as they relate to your field, as well as sharpen other needed skills such as communication, interpersonal and leadership skills.
Today we will talk about the How’s, What’s and Who’s of your professional library.
How: Digital or hard copy This is a personal preference with the answer being whatever you will utilize.
- Hard copies I prefer hard copies because I like to physically hold the book and underline and highlight sections. This uses multiple parts of my brain and the material “sticks” better for me. This method does require more physical storage space, but if you love books as much as I do, it is a beautiful thing to have rows of bookcases! Buy used books to be budget friendly. Thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace are often great sources for professional books.
- Audio books If you are crunched for time you may prefer to listen to audio books so you can multi-task. Learning while you are driving to and from work each day is an efficient way to cover a lot of material. It also makes mundane chores such as mowing the yard go faster.
- Digital Perhaps you would find saving videos and documents digitally in folders more convenient, so you have all your resources just a click away. This is a great space saving option, as well, and makes it easy to share resources with others.
Who and What: Your library should include the best information available and be continuously updated. Think about what categories you will benefit from the most, such as sales techniques, leadership, management, communication skills, and specific areas of your profession.
I then suggest:
- Research Ted Talks about specific subjects related to your area so that you can get a feel for who is the leading expert in your field.
- Ask mentors for recommendations.
- Subscribe to professional journals
- Join a professional organization that sends professional development materials by email or includes them on their website
- Make a trip to the library or local bookstore and ask about the newest professional books out.
- Search Amazon and read reviews.
Continuously learning about your profession will give you confidence and competence. Others will notice, as well. The payoff will be worth the time and money. Have fun collecting and learning!