Your Professional Development Plan (PDP) is your roadmap for your career (and your life), helping you identify the steps to take to help you reach your dream job as well as live the life that you want.
On the career side of things, your plan provides structure for professional growth and outlines explicit learning and development goals so you know exactly what you need to do to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
On a personal level, it helps you identify areas for personal growth and change — which, of course, can have a significant impact on your career as well.
You’re more likely to get where you’re going if you decide where you want to go, and then plan your journey. If you don’t, you’ll still get “somewhere,” but you might look up in a few years and wonder how you got “here.”
Some employers offer professional development planning; however, you should take a more well-rounded approach — one encompassing both personal and professional development. And if you had previously engaged in a corporate professional development process, it may have been to identify how you can move up within that organization — and staying with your current employer may not be your long-term goal.
The PDP examines what you need to work on in six different areas of focus:
Family, Spiritual, Social/Relationships, Physical, Financial, and your Career.
This process isn’t meant to be difficult or lengthy. It’s a snapshot of where you are right now and how to move forward. But it should be something that you revisit regularly — at least once a year — to make sure that you still want to go where you said you did, and that you’re still on the right path. You may only have one or two items in some areas of focus, while you may have four (or more!) in other areas. Your plan will be unique to you!
The first thing to do is an assessment in each area. Use the Assessment Worksheet to guide you.
For your career goals, for example, examine job postings for the job that you’d like to have, or your dream job.
- Is there a particular degree required?
- A certification?
- Specific software skills?
These will help you determine what you need as minimum qualifications for the position.
Once you’ve completed the assessment process, you’re ready to work on creating your Personal/Professional Development Plan. More on that next month!
Action Item: Personal/Professional Assessment Get started today.
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