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Happy Tuesday, Everyone! Here’s another great guest post from Real Life Home.
Growth is part of life, but many professionals forget that it’s part of careers, too. Even if you’re making strides in terms of earnings or job titles, a professional development plan gives you new and rewarding challenges to master. Start working on your plan with this guide, and don’t forget to visit Unsettled Essence for more insights.
Inventory Your Current Skills
Evaluating your skills and knowledge is an ideal place to start when creating a professional development plan. Taking an online career or skill assessment could be a helpful starting point, but some introspection is also beneficial.
Consider using self-assessment tools like values tests, personality diagnostics, and other tools that can highlight your strengths and tendencies. With this information, you can make more informed decisions and set strategic goals.
Self-study can be a helpful next step, whether you pick up books on honing your communication skills or take a virtual course in team leadership. Mentorship is another way to work on skill-building outside of a traditional classroom.
Outline and Break Down Measurable Goals
It’s tough to make progress without having an end goal in mind. Goal setting is the first part of your professional development plan and should emerge from your skills evaluation. Out of your goals, an action plan should emerge.
The National Society of Leadership and Success recommends the SMART goal-setting strategy and answering the six Ws, too. Naming who, what, when, where, why, and which gives meaning to your goals and helps you break them down.
Set a timeline with checkpoints for each element of your goals. Checking things off a to-do list is rewarding and helps keep your momentum going, says Saya Des Marais, a mental health writer and trainer.
Embark on an Educational Path
One of your goals might be to develop skills or earn a formal degree. Self-study is a viable option for many skills, but in some cases, a college degree is what you’ll need for a career boost.
Earning an online degree is a great way to advance your education while working full-time; if you’re looking for a good online school, here’s a good one with multiple options. Degree programs can also extend your professional network and offer valuable internship opportunities.
Draft a New Resume
If your development plan includes leveling up into a new role or pivoting onto a different career path, a new resume is a must. A resume showcases your expertise, degrees, background, and career highlights.
A curriculum vitae (CV) can also document development as you progress professionally. And, as you track professional projects and accomplishments, you can add these to your resume document. Remember to custom-tailor your resume to job openings, too; experts say that addressing the job post increases your odds of matching with an employer.
However, avoid adding any personal details, including hobbies, to your resume; a clean and professional appearance is always best. Applying with a cover letter is another way to help your CV stand out while giving potential employers a glimpse of your personality.
Go the Entrepreneur Route
For many professionals, the ultimate step in development involves launching their own businesses. Becoming an entrepreneur might be a more challenging career path, but the rewards are almost limitless. You can create the type of business you want to run and scale up as far as you need (or want).
If entrepreneurship is in your future, extend your professional development plan into a business plan. Creating a business plan is also necessary if your startup requires financing. Many lenders will ask for a business plan that covers, among other things, your financial projections and expenses.
A business plan also gives you a roadmap toward achieving your entrepreneurial dreams. It can go hand-in-hand with your professional development plan or even replace it depending on your career plans.
Every professional development plan will look different because no two people share the same goals. Whether you want to go back to school, start a business, or just dust off your resume, achieving those benchmarks will feel amazing. And in a few months (or maybe more), you’ll be glad you started now.
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Thanks —much appreciated
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