How to Create a Professional Development Plan
Published: 08 Jun 2016
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the learning and development you undertake in order to carry out a current role or move into a new one. Many organisations have well-established CPD activities, but it’s still good to be proactive in order to: develop your current role, achieve greater satisfaction and effectiveness in your current work or take a new career direction.
If you’re serious about your own development, be prepared to:
- put aside some protected time to reflect and take stock – if you don’t, things may not change and you might miss out on some good opportunities
- be systematic, write a plan and regularly review it
- find at least one person who can act as a ‘critical friend’. Consult them to get feedback on your ideas or ask advice. This could be a colleague, friend, professional coach, or line-manager.
Step 1: Review
Look at any careers development book or website or organisations’ professional development plan and they will cover similar key CPD stages:
- What’s going on at the moment? What are the issues?
- What’s going well; what’s not?
- Think about where you want to be, what you want to develop. What are your goals?
- What are your areas for development?
- Find 30 minutes in the next week
- Decide how you are going to record your answers to these questions – for many people a really special folder makes a huge difference; really!
- Answer questions 1 to 4 on your own, then discuss your answers with a critical friend
Step 2: Plan
Write your action plan focussing on each area for development in question 4. There are many ways to set this out, but the following should get you started:
Step 3: Take Action
Depending on your situation, you may be in a position to take some specific steps now. Here are some suggestions:
You want to improve your performance and satisfaction in your current role:
- Make performance reviews or appraisals work for you, don’t just react to your line manager’s agenda
- Look at courses you can do within and outside your organisation; if it’ll cost money, take time to make a case referencing your job description, targets, organisational strategy and staff development policy
- Put aside time to follow-up any activity or course
- Use your initiative: get feedback on what you do well from colleagues, clients, customers
You want to progress within your current organisation:
- Check out what other people do: look at every job advertised; talk to colleagues; check organisational charts
- Speak with potential line-managers
- Do all of the above diplomatically!
- If you are at risk of redundancy or redeployment – become an expert on the policies and procedures – there may be more help than you think
And don’t forget jobs.ac.uk’s own resource, the CPD e-guide