What is a Personal Development Plan and What Can it Mean for you?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Where are you now in your career?

Where would you like to see yourself in 2, 5 and 10 years’ time?

How do you plan to get there?

What experience, training, development, education will you need to achieve those goals?

Who or what can help you with this?

What measures can you set up to ensure that you know when you have accomplished what you set out to achieve?

It may surprise you, but you are now already on your way to creating a Personal Development Plan or PDP as those in “the know” like to call it.

What is a Personal Development Plan?

A personal development plan is “a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you manage your own learning and growth” (as defined by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development or CIPD)

PDP is a tool used by high achievers from all walks of life. Anyone can have a PDP and the benefits are numerous, helping you to: build self-confidence and credibility, track your progression, increase your earnings by showcasing your achievements, achieve your career goals and to cope positively with changes by regularly improving and updating your skillset.

Creating your own Personal Development Plan is a forward-thinking way of figuring out what you want to achieve and how to realise your professional and personal goals. There are 3 key things to remember when working on your own PDP:

1. It is just that, “your own”. No one else’s.

To be truly invested in your PDP, you need to be involved in the creation and development of it from day one. This will ensure that the action plan is correctly tailored to your needs – helping you to identify your strengths and areas for improvement in order for you to achieve your long-term career goals.

Your professional development is your responsibility. Not your employer’s, manager’s or tutor’s.

2. It is a continuous process.

If you want to continue to grow in your career, then you need to accept that your professional development is a lifelong process. If you fail to nurture your “career acorn” then it will never grow into that impressive oak tree you see in your future, and if you fail to build upon your skills and knowledge continuously then you will likely see your professional growth start to slow down or wither.

3. It is not written in stone.

Your PDP should be fluid. Revise it on a regular basis to ensure that it is current – reflecting both changes directly related to you and changes to outside influences. These may include:

  • new goals,
  • different targets
  • a change in personal circumstances
  • industry economy and technological advances

If you keep your PDP rigid, you may be stifling your professional development in the future. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals or take a completely new direction if that’s the right option for you.

In today’s competitive employment market, showcasing and improving your skills through a PDP is invaluable. So, the only question to answer now should be – when do you start yours?

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