Writing a Professional Development Plan can help keep you focused on your goals and give you something to work on in order to move forward. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time if you know what you are doing and what you want to do.
The first step you will want to take is to take a self evaluation. Focus not on goals or weaknesses, but rather on strengths. Think about what you are good at. It will be easier for you to do things you love than to try to perform well in activities you have no interest in and aren’t very good at. You aren’t expected to be good at everything, so acknowledging that you have weaknesses is a good thing to do at this point, just remember that it isn’t the focus of this exercise.
Decide on something that you want to learn, such as a new skill, or even a whole new job. Do some research on what it would take to learn this. Professional development can only happen with furthering education. Look at material such as trade magazines, job descriptions and career guides. If you are trying to move up the corporate ladder, look into what other people in your company have had to do to move up the ladder. Next, identify the schools, seminars, mentors, blogs, books, and conventions that can give you what you need.
Finally you can start to write out plans and goals. Try to write out a list of goals you would like to meet in the next five years and how you are going to reach them. This is your long term goals list, and should be kept somewhere safe that you can get back to easily. You will want to reevaluate this regularly. Next write out a list of goals and how you will reach them for the next year. Make sure at least one of these things helps you reach one or more of the goals on your other list. Finally write up a list of goals and how you will reach them for this next month. This should get you closer to one of your goals for the year. All of these should be reevaluated and revised on a regular basis as your goals change.
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