Don’t Leave Your Professional Development To Chance

Are you leaving your own learning and development to chance or have you invested time in thinking about your personal and professional development?

When I am talking to people about their continuing professional development (CPD) I am often surprised how many haven’t actually considered their own development. Or they see CPD as simply a number of hours of “development” to be racked up to meet the requirements of a particular professional body they belong to. Many professional bodies require a specific number of hours per year in order for individuals to retain their membership and there is no particular thought given to the content of those hours actually developing the individual.

With new technology and increasingly skilled competition, I believe that there is simply no room to become stagnant in your career. People who are not constantly pushing themselves to become more flexible, knowledgeable and valuable to the organisations they work for, or want to work for, will soon find that they are expendable. The world is changing and in order to stay relevant in your field, you must change and develop with it. For these and many other reasons, having a personal professional development plan is critical.

The Benefits Of Drafting A Personal Professional Development Plan

Taking the time to create a personal professional development plan, gives you the opportunity to consider upcoming industry changes and prepare for them. As certain operations become automated, you can ensure that you are the first to receive the necessary technical training. New strategies for promoting efficiency can be adopted by you even before these become standard and widely known. You will be poised for promotion and better able to sell yourself to other companies should the need ever arise. Moreover, you will have sufficient confidence in your up-to-date knowledge for starting commercial endeavours of your own, should you choose to the self employment route at some point.

Surprising Advantages That You Can Gain By Planning And Preparing For The Future

People who take the time to consider what lies ahead tend to be far more proactive than those who do not. These professionals are aware of what new opportunities will entail and they are far more likely to have the skills for succeeding in them. When you know what challenges you are likely to face throughout the course of building and furthering you career, few things are going to take you by surprise. Best of all, better preparedness will mean less stress.

There are, however, a few additional advantages that can be gained through the creation and use of a personal professional development plan. Lifelong learning and self-improvement are said to be two of the most effective strategies for promoting long-term brain health. So, ultimately having a plan for your continuous professional development could bolster and preserve your physical, emotional and mental health.

Getting Started

The first and most important step in this process is to identify where you’re going and how long you plan on taking to get there. If you are content with the company you work with and the position you hold, you will need to establish a plan that helps to keep you valuable. Growth within a company will make it necessary to acquire skills that are suitable to higher positions and reflective of the direction in which the business is moving.

Enhancing skills that are specific to your current job duties will make you a more desirable candidate when appealing to other businesses. Ultimately, you have to define your career goals, break these down into measurable objectives and then give yourself a feasible time frame for completing these objectives.

Irrespective of what your personal professional development goals might be, you should check in with your peers. Find out what others in your industry are doing to stay relevant. While many businesses are willing to create professional development plans for their employees and then use these as part of the performance review process, keep in mind that these could prove limiting when it comes to reaching the goals that you have personally set for yourself. You can still, however, rely on these to give you a greater sense of direction when seeking out workshops and training programmes that will add the most value.

Your Personal Professional Development Plan Is Never Complete

Once you have drafted a plan that is best representative of your personal goals, abilities and circumstances, you will have to do far more than simply adhere to it. This will need to be revised throughout the coming months and years in order to reflect your growth, new obligations and new challenges. In this way, this plan becomes far more than just a guide for fostering and boosting your professional career. It will also be a guide for continuous improvement and one that will constantly challenge you to become better skilled, more efficient and more valuable in your industry.

If you are looking for a template for your Personal Professional Development Plan then do take a look at the templates and examples which the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) offer here.