How to establish a professional development plan
In this day and age, the job market is more competitive than ever. Gone are the days of high job security, where you stayed with the same company your entire life until you moved up the corporate ladder to your dream position. Along with rapid developments in technology, the need to keep technical skills fresh and up-to-date is vital. If you want to reach for that dream job and grab it, it is essential to position and prepare yourself through continual development and training.
A good first step is creating a professional development plan. An effective plan will clearly define your short and long term career goals and what will be needed to achieve them. Ensure you write down where you want to be career-wise within the next five years. Secondly, include the type of additional work experience and skills you need in order to get your dream job. Lastly, identify any education classes or conferences that you would like to attend and projects you would like to work on.
Create an accomplishment timeline. In order to achieve goals, you need to break down objectives into smaller tasks with well-defined deadlines. Set up a calendar schedule with target dates for completing each assignment. If your dream job exists in your current organization, work with your manager to set up clear expectations. If you want to be promoted to a higher level within the next year, speak with them openly to lay out what is expected of you and how you can achieve that particular goal.
Finally, once you have completed your development plan, it is your responsibility to be proactive and take the initiative. Be willing to adapt and change your plan according to circumstances. Use feedback from your manager, mentors, team members and friends to constantly evolve your professional development plan. Sometimes others are better able to see your strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.Sandra Summerhayes & Associates, an independent consulting agency that focuses on employee, team and organizational development, designs and delivers training sessions and seminars for various organizations throughout Ontario. Her team works closely with businesses to help them improve their working environments by identifying departmental gaps and then creating and executing action plans. For more information about Sandra Summerhayes & Associates visit www.sandrasummerhayes.com.