Certifications and volunteering make you stand out for promotions and hiring

Ready to soar to new heights in your career? Let’s explore a topic that holds the key to unlocking your full potential: professional development.

In business aviation, it’s easy to get lost in our specialized areas of expertise. But what if we could break free from the confines of our comfort zones? What if we could embark on a journey of unparalleled growth?

Enrolling in a professional development program is a definitive way to stretch ourselves. One such opportunity that I’m always happy to promote is NBAA’s Certified Aviation Manager (CAM), which I’ve completed. Another is the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, which offers corporate management certifications. And for those desiring academic credentials, an MBA speaks volumes. Just starting out in your career? Start small by joining a committee at the local or regional level.

Well-rounded Expertise

During my “six months to CAM” journey, the NBAA coursework shaped me into a much more well-versed professional.

For example, I found myself diving deeper into areas where I was least confident, such as flight operations and taxes. And guess what? I was overly confident in my area of expertise—human resources—because I thought I had that topic down. But I actually scored lower on HR-related topics!

Regretfully, I didn’t put in the time to get up-to-date on areas such as regulatory requirements that don’t apply to my own company. Wow, did that make me more aware of a few blind spots!

But that’s the beauty of professional development. It helps us grow beyond what we think we’re capable of doing.

Business-related Benefits

So, why should you consider a professional development program? Let’s break down the business-related benefits:

Be a Better You

First off, it’s a ticket to becoming a better version of yourself professionally. A program such as the NBAA CAM equips you with the skills and knowledge to excel in diverse areas. You can gain important new knowledge to build a business case for a new process or innovation. And it can earn you a seat at the table of aviation leaders to make business decisions.

Networking with Like-minded Peers

Second, getting an MBA or CAM isn’t just about passing a test and adding an acronym behind your name. It’s about building a network of mentors and peers who support your growth. You thrust yourself into a community of passionate professionals committed to each other’s success. It’s like having a team of cheerleaders rooting for you at every step. And think of the vast database of experts who are more likely to take your call when you have a question or need a favor.

Enhanced Credibility and New Opportunities

Let’s not forget the perks. Adding a credential such as CAM after your name or putting the MBA on your resume shows hiring managers that you’re a go-getter. Take it from me (a recruiter), a hard-won certification gives you instant credibility. Your industry volunteerism role or continuing ed credential will help you stand out in a crowd.  

Spark the Magic of Lifelong Learning

Professional development coursework lays the foundation for lifelong learning. As aviation evolves, so will you. For CAM professionals, you’ll keep attending courses to become recertified. That means you’ll be honing your skills and adapting to the ever-changing landscape. 

Pressure Makes Diamonds

One of my favorite adages is “Pressure makes diamonds.” Challenging oneself is one of the best ways to unlock one’s true potential. Plus, it demonstrates to others that you have what it takes to be the best.

As I wrap up, I want to share a personal milestone. On February 8, the NBAA inducted me into its inaugural CAM Fellows Program. I’m profoundly humbled to join these 18 incredible leaders who are striving to improve our industry. And I am grateful to the two colleagues who nominated me.

So as we kick off a new year, I encourage you to explore how you can elevate your career. Whether it’s through a professional development course or volunteerism role, or both, embark on a journey to better yourself—and our industry.

Sheryl Barden, CAM, is the president and CEO of Aviation Personnel International, the longest-running recruiting and HR consulting firm exclusively serving business aviation. A thought leader on all things related to business aviation professionals, Barden is a former member of NBAA’s board of directors and its NBAA advisory council.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily endorsed by AIN Media Group.

View the original AINsight article here.

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