Advisory Board Company | How Do I Prepare My Professional Development Plan?
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How Do I Prepare My Professional Development Plan?

16 Oct How Do I Prepare My Professional Development Plan?

You want to get a leg up on your career, but you don’t know how to write a professional development plan. Fortunately, it isn’t very difficult at all. Once you learn how to write a plan, you can put it in motion and begin furthering your career. You will be amazed by how quickly you can reach your goals when you have a solid plan in place.

Self evaluation for professional developmentEvaluate Yourself

When researching how to write a professional development plan, you will likely find that most people suggest evaluating your current position. That’s because it is impossible to write a plan to help you move forward if you don’t know where you are. It would be a muddled mess and wouldn’t help you get to your desired position.

You need to look at your current position honestly. This can be difficult for some people. It is hard to cut through the noise and see yourself for what you really are, but this is necessary.

You can get a clear determination by answering a few questions. Write your answers down so you can analyze them later.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • Where do I want to be in a year?
  • Where do I want to be in three years?
  • What needs to happen for me to be successful?

Set a Goal

Once you have a clear view of where you are, you need to set a goal. Your goal will help you achieve success.

While your goals can be big, you do need to break them up into smaller, attainable goals. If you want to work for a Fortune 500 company, you need to think about the road you will have to travel to make that happen. You might need to move up in your own company first or get another degree.

After you have some attainable goals, you can move on to the next step.

Think About the Skills You Need to Achieve Your Goals

Each goal requires certain skills to achieve. You need to find out what skills you need to go to the next level.

You can start by asking your boss what you can do to add more value to your department. This will help you find out what skills you need to develop when formulating your personal development plan. Your boss will give you some insight into how you are viewed, and you can use that to become an even better employee.

You should also research people who are in your desired position and determine how they got there. What skills do they have that allowed them to reach that position? If possible, network with them to learn more about how they reached their goals. Maybe they took the time to learn another language or they took extra classes. They might even be published. You need to know the benchmark for success so you can reach it.

Find Opportunities Help You Reach Your Goals

Now, it’s time for the fun part. You need to look for professional development opportunities that you can utilize. These can be mentorships, publishing, continuing education, or anything else that will help you reach your goal.

Start by looking within your own company. Many businesses offer professional development resources, including mentorship. Then, go outside of your company to find additional resources. This is where you can find classes, organizations, and more.

Write It All Down

Next, you need to formalize your professional development plan. Write it all down, including your goals and what you will do to reach those goals. Remember to break it up into steps so you are not overwhelmed.

You should also include each professional development opportunity you intend to participate in. Don’t make the mistake of being vague. If you are going to attend a class, register for it and include the date and time. You need hard facts and information if you’re going to be motivated to move forward.

Have someone witness it when you sign the plan. This will hold you accountable so you will be more likely to see it through. You can even ask that person to follow up with you once a month to make sure you are on track. You won’t want to let that person down, so you will stay on top of your plan and make sure you see it through to the end. This is critical if you are going to reach your goals.

Writing your professional development plan is the easy part. Seeing it through takes a bit more work, but it is well worth it. Put the effort in and watch as your career takes off. You will lay the groundwork to make it to the top of your field when you put your plan in motion. Then, you can finally reach your goals and achieve your professional dreams.

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