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How To Write a Professional Development Plan

A list of structured steps for reaching career goals is called a professional development plan (PDP). This plan helps you get insight into how to achieve your career objectives and turns out to be really useful when searching for a new job.

A professional development plan can be created in various formats including a typed document or a structured table. Hence, you could create your PDP in the format that best suits your style and helps you think methodically.

But, what to include in a PDP? How to write it? No worries because SkillsTX’s got you covered. Being the world’s leading SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age) and competency management company, SkillsTX has the experience and knowledge needed to show you how to write a professional development plan in five simple steps.

So, just continue reading to find out how to create a PDP that will help you grow both professionally and individually.

Five Key Elements of a Professional Development Plan

  1. Skills

First and foremost, you have to thoroughly evaluate your professional knowledge, interest, and skills (preferably by using the SFIA framework). This will allow you to assess your current job position and understand which SFIA skills you need to improve in order to fit certain job descriptions many job roles depend on technological skills.

  1. Goals

Next, your professional development plan should include a list of goals you want to achieve. And, to make it easier to track and update your goals in your PDP, ensure you use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) goals. Also, you could break your goals down into steps and categorise them as short-term, mid-term, and long-term so that you know what to focus on first.

  1. Strategies

The third element of a professional development plan focuses on strategies, i.e. ways in which you will reach your career goals. The majority of your strategies should be experiential, i.e. learning through doing, to be able to gain experience when improving skills or developing new ones. The rest of your strategies may include learning from others (exposure), training and education, or reflection.

  1. Resources

Then, you have to list the resources where you can get professional growth, including where you could improve the much-needed SFIA skills. Everything from workshops, courses, conferences, training, to webinars can be considered as an opportunity to grow professionally and best meet the requirements of many job descriptions. As a bonus, you could join a professional association that will help you build a strong professional network.

  1. Timelines

Finally, the last element of a successful professional development plan is timelines as it should regularly be updated and considered as a work in progress – never done and completed. Over time, you should reflect on every single element in your PDP and change certain entries as you grow and improve professionally. Hence, try to make a schedule, for example once in three months, and update your strategies and goals, especially if you have reached some milestones.

The bottom line, creating a simple and in-depth professional development plan can help guide your decisions throughout your career. For that reason, make sure you contact the number one SFIA and competency management company – SkillsTX – to get the help needed.