To invest in your career means more than simply trying your best during an application process for a new role. It has to do with putting consistent time, effort, and money into your personal development. Why? Because you are your most valuable asset, which means investing in yourself is the best way to increase your market value.

When you invest in your career, you could simply take a professional certification course, work with a mentor, hire a career coach, or attend conferences and networking events that aren’t free attendance. There are countless ways to invest in your career, and I recommend taking advantage of as many as possible.

In fact, a key metric is to always invest at least 5% of your annual earnings into professional development to ensure that your skills are constantly being refreshed.

Here are four reasons why you must invest in your career!

1. It will help you differentiate yourself.

The more time you put into professional certifications, conferences, and career coaches, the better your reputation will be and the larger knowledge base and network you’ll have to draw on. This will help you learn more about your industry and profession so that you can establish yourself as a successful professional. Differentiating yourself as high potential talent can be as subtle as obtaining a quick certification that acknowledges your unique skill sets.

2. It will help build your brand.

Building your brand is all about establishing yourself as interesting, unique, and impressive. You can do this by portraying yourself as an expert through certifications and courses that demonstrate your wide-ranging abilities. Better yet, invest in a career coach who can help you build your personal brand from ground zero.

3. You’ll be able to make more strategic moves in your career.

With the help of a mentor or career coach, you’ll be able to get the information you need to make strategic, well thought out decisions about your next career move. Better yet, you’ll be able to get professional advice on your career-path and how you can achieve your goals.

4. You’ll become a more well-rounded candidate for future roles.

Set a positive direction in your career by investing in career coaching, finding a mentor, reading books, taking courses, and attending conferences that help you round out your skills and develop a unique competitive edge. Whether you’re looking for a job now or not, you’ll eventually need to transition to a new role – internally or externally – to accelerate your career. It’s much better to proactively invest in yourself than regret having very little to write about on your resume when the times comes.

Do you have any questions about how to invest in your career? Let me know in the comments section!