Why You Need a Professional Development Plan for Yourself

As someone who wants to be successful in your career, you need to have a professional development plan for yourself. Too often, people rely on their company or manager to tell them what they should be doing with their careers. But the truth is, it’s up to you to come up with your own plan and take charge of your own professional growth.

No One Is Going to Manage Your Career for You

When it comes to career management, remember that you are the only person in the driving seat. Your career is ultimately in your own hands.

You need to always keep this in mind. The sooner you learn this career fundamental, the better off you will be in your career.

Note that this isn’t limited to big corporate professionals who want to climb the corporate ladder. No, this applies to every single professional out there.

The market is always changing. The skills you’ve learned a year ago may no longer be relevant today. That’s why you have to understand that you are in charge of your own career.

Your Manager and Company Might Not Know What’s Best for You or Your Career

When it comes to professional development, managers often have a limited perspective when providing guidance or advice to their employees. In addition, most companies do not have a formal professional development program or training for employees.

Think about it.

When was the last time your manager asked you about your career goals? Frankly speaking, the only time this gets asked is during the interview process which never gets revisited again when you were offered the job, get promoted, or stayed at the company for 5 years. Your manager nor HR didn’t come to you with a development plan showing you these skills are what you need to do and acquire in order to be successful.

That’s why you need to create a professional development plan for yourself.

What Should Be Included in Your Development Plan 

Your development plan should include the following:

  • Your short-term and long-term career goals
  • The skills you need to acquire in order to achieve your goals
  • What courses or training you need to take
  • How you will measure your success

It’s important that you tailor your professional development plan according to what is relevant to your profession and career goals.

If you’re a young professional, chances are, you don’t know what your long-term career goals are. That’s okay.

Nonetheless, you still need to create a plan for yourself.

Focus on developing skills that are transferable in other industries (should you decide to switch careers) or those mostly used as you advance in your career (rise up the ranks).

Communication and presentation skills are always needed. Stuttering or not sounding confident can stall your career. Yes, even if you are a programmer or an introvert person, you need to learn how to communicate effectively. Freelancer? You still have clients to persuade and report to.

Benefits of Having a Professional Development Plan 

There are numerous benefits to having a professional development plan.

First, you have clear goals that you want to achieve in your career. This gives you direction and motivation. You’ll also know exactly what skills or courses you need to take in order to achieve those goals. It’s sort of like being given a roadmap for your career.

In addition, having a development plan helps you measure your success along the way. This is especially helpful if you’re working towards long-term goals that may take years to achieve.

Last but not least, it’s always reassuring to have a safety net in case things don’t go as planned. With a professional development plan, you always have a plan B to fall back on.

Final Thoughts

It is up to you to come up with your own professional development plan as part of your career management. If you are unsure where to start, you can follow these tips for creating a professional development plan for yourself.

You are responsible for your own career. Your company may offer you help and guidance in this, lucky you, but ultimately, you should be driving your own professional growth.

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