How to Write a Professional Development Plan

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article | How to Write a Professional Development Plan

It doesn’t matter if someone has long-term or short-term goals. The path to success always comes with a proper plan. That is the reason why a development plan may help people reach their goals more effectively. Yet, many people don’t know how to write a professional development plan. There are a couple of stages they need to go through to complete the process successfully.

First Step: Remain Objective and Analyze Yourself

People need to ensure they understand their weaknesses and strengths. However, it is not only important to improve the skills that will bring them a job or business success. They also need to have in mind their personal characteristics and habits that can potentially become a distraction.

That especially counts when we talk about transferable skills. For instance, organizational skills are the ones that need to be at the highest level. People need to organize their time properly, design their workspace to make it inspirational for working, etc. If they need to improve that, they should write it down in their professional development plan.

Second Step: Identify the Career Goals You Want to Achieve

There is no universal definition of the term success. For some people, that would be the improvement of financial stability. On the other hand, others would focus on flexible work hours, expanding a business to another country, etc.

Still, people often make a common mistake. Long-term goals are inspirational, and they motivate people to work hard every day. However, it is not going to be enough to say “I want to become rich one day”. Every long-term goal contains many mini-goals that people need to pass.

For instance, let’s imagine that an entrepreneur wants to become a content writer and start a personal blog. He realized that it can be a good way to improve the brand identity of his business. However, his content writing skills are not at the highest level. Short-term goals would be the improvement of SEO knowledge, vocabulary, etc. In other words, a person should improve the weaknesses determined in the previous step.

Third Step: Finding the Best Method to Reach the Goal

The long-term and short-term goals may seem impossible to achieve at first glance. However, with hard work, persistence, and a good plan, all the goals become achievable.

Let’s use an example of a person that wants to improve his graphic design skills. One way to do that is to subscribe to a course published by a professional designer. Despite that, finding a mentor that is willing to share his knowledge and skills is also an excellent alternative. Whichever option people choose, they have to be sure it will bring them positive results. That is the reason why they have to research all the available options.

Fourth Step: Determine the Deadlines

Planning a professional development without a proper deadline is impossible. However, the timeline needs to be realistic and motivational at the same time. For instance, if someone started a small business three months ago, it is hard to believe that person will be an owner of a multinational company for one year.

The purpose of the deadlines is to remind people they should be self-discipline. Making excuses and delaying completing some duties will never help anyone to make professional development.

Fifth Step: Check the Plan Once Again

After going through the previous four steps, people should write down their plans. However, that doesn’t mean people should start their journey without double-checking everything.

All the goals need to be SMART. For those that do not know, SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. In that way, they will determine whether a certain part of the development plan requires changes or improvement. It is essential to realize immediately if some pieces of information are missing as well.

Final Thought

The development plan will not mean anything if its creator deals with a lack of self-discipline. Whatever people write down, they need to respect it until the end. With a high level of discipline and a clear and realistic development plan, success will come.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Linda FergusonLinda Ferguson started her career in a local company as a content writer 5 years ago. Now, she is the CEO of thanks to her determination and complete dedication to work. Linda has always been passionate about academia and writing. Besides her busy work schedule, she manages to find time for attending conferences that keep her up to date with the latest news in the industry.

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