How to Write a Professional Development Plan

Professional and personal development is key to success. By having clear, concise, professional/career goals to work towards, will keep you motivated, on track and accountable.

To help you stay motivated, on track and accountable for your professional development, you should develop a professional development plan. In this blog we will discuss what a professional development plan is and how to write one.

What is a Professional Development Plan?

A professional development plan is a list of goals, with attached timeframes and tasks to achieve your goals. By analysing and establishing what tasks are required to achieve your goals, creates momentum, and can make goals appear to be more achievable.

The plan itself can be as detailed as you like from a one-page document to a detailed spreadsheet. Remember this is your professional plan, and its purpose is to direct, motivate and hold you accountable for your career success.

3 Steps on How to write a Professional Development Plan

1. Identify and define your overall goals, is it a role you aspire to be in, is it a qualification, or is it skills and experience in a particular field or industry. For example - Finance Manager.

2. Self-assess where you are in relation to the overall goals. By looking at the level of where your current job and what your current skills and experience are, you can identify areas in which you will need to improve or develop to obtain your goals.

Tip – if it is a role that you are working towards (Finance Manager), a good idea is to have a look online at different position descriptions that list what skills and experience are required to succeed in the role.

3. Identify any short-term goals or milestones that will contribute to your overall goal. This may include skills and experience, qualifications required or behaviours. Outline how you are going to achieve the short term goal; there are several different ways and resources you can use:

  • Webinars

  • Mentor

  • Formal educational providers

  • Vocational providers – short courses

  • Learning on the job – take on more responsibilities at work.

  • Volunteer or offer your services to learn through experience

When listing your short goals or milestones, list them in priority, to ensure you accomplish and focus on the critical priorities first. You should also put a deadline or a time in which you want to achieve the short-term goal. This will help with you holding yourself accountable.

This step also involves you looking at what challenges may arise for each short-term goal and looking at ways to overcome this.

Keep motivated

Staying motivated to achieve your professional plan, can be challenging at times, especially at times you did not reach a deadline or missed an opportunity. The key is to refer back to your plan, reset and to remember why it is you wanted this to achieve this goal.

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