A professional development plan is a way for you to keep track of their career goals. Creating a professional development plan takes time and planning, but will help you identify and develop the professional skills needed to reach your goals and keep you on the right track. Here are the steps you should take when creating your professional development plan. 

Assess Your Current Situation

The first step in creating a professional development plan is to reflect on your previous actions while being completely honest with yourself. Identify actions that have previously helped or hindered your professional development in the past and write them down. Take the time to reflect on your previous professional development and career and assess if you are where you want to be, or if there are changes you need to make. 

Identify Career Specific GoalsPerson typing on their laptop, with ipad, glasses, and coffee on table

After you have assessed your current situation, write down a list of your future career goals. Take your time with this, as your future is not something you should rush. Be specific with your goals, determining both your short term and long term goals. Your goals should be achievable and realistic, while also being something you can keep track of easily. Think about what success looks like for you, asking yourself if you are satisfied with where you currently are in your career and how you can advance professionally in the future.

Gather Relevant Information

Once you have determined your short term and long term goals for your professional development plan, you will need to do some research. Find out what steps you need to take to achieve each of your goals, breaking each goal down into smaller steps. Take note of any skills you may need to make an impression at interviews, or even just skills you want to develop for your own personal growth. 

Professional development should not be a one-time thing, it should be continuous and ongoing as you go throughout your career. Look into workshops, seminars, and classes that relate to your career and the goals you want to achieve. In some cases, you may want to meet with your supervisor to discuss your goals and see where they can help. 

Create a Timeline

Now that you have your goals and steps needed written down, it’s time to create a timeline for when you want to achieve your goals. By creating a timeline, you are more likely to achieve your goals. Plan out and schedule your professional development tasks, being flexible with your timeline. Remember that things rarely go as planned, so it’s important to be flexible with your timeline. 

Man using sticky notes on window to planEvaluate Your Plan

Once you have your professional development plan written down, take a moment to review your goals and corresponding steps. Make sure your goals are realistic and reasonable, and that you are able to reach your targets. If you are setting unrealistic goals, following your plan will be stressful and disheartening in the long run. As you are evaluating your plan, make adjustments where you see fit to ensure you are setting yourself up for success. 

Measure Your Progress

Be sure to assess your professional development progress regularly to stay on track. Make necessary changes and adjustments to your plan as you go. Remember that your goals are likely to change, so make sure to review your professional development plan and adjust your plan accordingly. 

More Professional Development from VOC Associates

There are plenty of ways to develop yourself professionally! VOC Associates has compiled a list of tips to help you improve your workflow, and learn more about the importance of professional development. Visit our website or call (216) 284-4492 today!