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Our Favorite TED Talks for Professional Development - Kickstart your Career Growth Journey!


We again continue our first series of 2022 with our favorite TED Talks to listen to. Maybe you don’t have enough time to listen to a full podcast or read a whole book, but you’re still searching for a hint of motivation or creativity. TED Conferences were founded in 1984 and have since expanded across the country, featuring pop-up events at colleges and universities, corporate organizations, and cities worldwide and focusing on “ideas worth spreading.”


Shane Lopez: The Secrets of People Who Love Their Jobs

In this TED Talk from TEDxLawrence in June 2015, Dr. Shane Lopez, the world’s leading researcher on the concept of hope, empowers and instructs listeners on how to find their passion. The secret of people who love their jobs is simple: find something that aligns with that passion. But how do we get there? Using his own psychological research, Dr. Lopez leads a discussion on what brings happiness at work and how to find a career that works for you. Starting with the reform of America’s education systems, he provides us with the keys for making our jobs “good,” our families “happy,” and our work “meaningful.”


Jason Shen: When Looking for a Job? Highlight Your Ability, Not Your Experience

Jason Shen was a TED Resident in November 2017 who shared his experience in this TED Talk. As a college graduate with a degree in science, he deviated from the expected path by diving deep into the up-and-coming tech world. This TED Talk is excellent for a job seeker who is eager to enter a field that may not necessarily line up with their background or field of study. Capitalizing on transferable skills and high-level abilities, Shen provides advice on how to market yourself to get the job you want based on your ability, not your specific experience. We also recommend this TED Talk for hiring managers to encourage them to look beyond traditional metrics for hiring, highlighting fit, aptitude, and innovation.


Susan Colantuono: The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get

This TED Talk, given at TEDxBeaconStreet in November 2013, is for the person who feels that they’re doing everything right and they’re still not getting where they want to be. Though this talk was originally geared towards an audience of women, the talk provides practical takeaways for all listeners on how to rise above what’s holding you back and compete for those senior leadership positions. Women, in particular, focus a lot of their development on personal or soft skills, but the key to leveling up is connecting strengths to the company’s mission, strategy, and goals. Peer reviews and training are great stepping stones but won’t get you anywhere on their own.


Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker and marketing consultant who gave this talk, one of TED’s most popular lectures of all time, at TEDxPuget Sound in September 2009. Utilizing examples from some of history’s greatest leaders and innovators, such as Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright Brothers, and Steve Jobs, Sinek articulates his model for inspirational leadership, which all comes down to one question: Why? Why do you do what you do? Why are you motivated to lead? Why are you inspired to action and growth? This talk is excellent for anyone who wants to step up in the workplace and reframe their idea of leadership. And remember, you don’t have to manage others to be a leader in the workplace!


Scott Dinsmore: How to Find Work You Love

Amid the Great Resignation, people are leaving their jobs where they feel undervalued, unappreciated, and uninspired to find new roles that really spark their creativity, fuel their passion, and inspire them to do more. Scott Dinsmore’s TED Talk from TEDxGoldenGatePark 2012 tells his story of leaving a job where he felt miserable and searching for his next role, one that was truly meaningful to him. He boils it down to determining your values, your goals, and your beliefs and finding something that aligns with that. Outlining his process for personal discovery founded on thoughtful risks, deep self-evaluation, and networking with like-minded people, he guides you towards finding the work that makes you tick.


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