Tips for Building a Realistic Professional Development Plan
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If you’ve been working the same job for a long time and seen little advancement towards your professional goals, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Establishing a professional development plan can help you take back control over your professional life. Writing out a professional development plan forces you to think about your long-term goals and identify the skills and credentials you will need to meet them. Essentially, your professional development plan will serve as a roadmap to your dream career. Here’s a quick guide from QS2 Point to help you get started!
Set SMART Goals
First, you need goals. Vague goals like “find a job I love” or “make more money” won’t cut it here. Use the SMART acronym to guide your goal-setting process. MovingWorlds Blog explains that SMART goals will help you clarify what you want and optimize your use of available time and resources. These goals should be:
● Specific: Include precise details in your goals.
● Measurable: You should be able to quantify your goals and measure your progress over time.
● Attainable: Choose realistic goals that are challenging but still possible.
● Relevant: Set goals that connect to your big-picture objectives.
● Time-bound: Include a defined start and end date for each goal.
Map Out Your Educational Path
Once you’re clear on what you want to achieve with your career, it’s time to research what you’ll need to do to get there. This might involve going back to school to continue your education or complete a professional development course to advance your experience in a certain field.
For example, if you have project management experience and want to land more exciting opportunities in this area, consider learning to use SCRUM to facilitate team communication during projects. This scrum master online course is part of a certification program designed to help project managers optimize multi-team workflows. The course will prepare you for an assessment to evaluate your skills and provide you with a certificate of achievement that you can display on your professional profiles.
Join a Professional Organization
Participating in networking opportunities and staying on top of industry trends are essential strategies for advancing your career. This is a great reason to join a professional association. According to Bizfluent, belonging to a professional organization can help establish your legitimacy when you’re starting out in a brand new field, especially if you’re working as a freelancer or contractor. Being part of a professional organization can also give you access to career opportunities before they’re officially posted on job boards!
Revamp Your Resume
Part of professional development planning involves regularly updating your resume. If you haven’t revisited your resume in a while, it’s time to make some edits. Consider removing some entry-level roles from your resume, like those part-time jobs you held during college and other positions that might not be relevant to your current career trajectory. Once you’ve done that, update your skills with new soft and hard skills you’ve picked up over the years. You might also want to remove some outdated skills from your resume or those that are no longer relevant to your industry.
Revamping your resume doesn’t have to feel like a daunting process. Free online resume templates make it easy to create professional, eye-catching resumes without spending hours tweaking your design on a frustrating word processor. Look for resume builders that offer a wide selection of resume templates that you can customize with your own colors and fonts.
A strong professional development plan will help you stay on track toward your career goals as you navigate life’s various obstacles and challenges. Think about your career goals, look for professional development sources in your field, join a professional association, and bring your resume up to date. And remember to keep moving forward after achieving your goals!
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