When you get a job, you generally don’t plan to keep it forever. You hope for promotions and new responsibilities as you move up the career ladder. One way to help get you there is to create a professional development plan. This document helps you plan for your future career goals.

Set Goals

What are you trying to accomplish with this plan? Do you want to move into a new career? Are you looking for a promotion or justifying a raise? Whatever your goals, state them specifically. Instead of saying you want a raise, say you want a 10% increase in salary within the next six months. The more specific you are, the easier it is to know when you’ve achieved your goals.

Assess Yourself

Spend some time reflecting on the skills and knowledge you possess and what you need to improve. For example, if you currently work in payroll and want to move into human resources, you already know the company policy and how the systems work. You may need some additional work in understanding employee rights

Make an Action Plan

You know what you need to work on. Now, it’s time to figure out how. While there are many ways to go about it, these are some of the most common.

Take a Professional Development Course

When you have some knowledge and experience in a field but need to learn a bit more, a course is a perfect solution. Once you’re done, you’ll take an assessment and get a certificate if you pass. For example, if you work in project management, you know that communication between teams working on a project is important. You could take a web-based Scrum Master course that’s part of a certification program to learn new strategies for getting projects completed. 

Join a Professional Organization

There are groups for any profession you can think of. They provide training, give recommendations and reviews, and help you with any questions you may have in your career field. Many also sponsor networking events, which can be a great source for contacts when you’re looking to move into a new position.

Finish Your Degree

Whether it’s an advanced degree or an associate’s, having a diploma proves you have the knowledge and skills needed. Many universities have evening and online classes for your convenience. Take general classes for a broad certification in a new field, or take specialized classes for a focused major to up your current skills.

Update Your Resume

Once you’ve completed your action plan, include all your experience, certifications, and training on your resume. Online resume templates offer modern, professional layouts that you can customize with your own information, colors, and images. This is perfect whether you’re looking for a new position or trying to move up in your current company.

Put Your Professional Development Plan to Use

Make a plan and execute it. Ensure your goals and timelines are reasonable; it can take a while to complete professional development courses or degrees and to get the most out of a professional association. Once you’ve updated your resume, you’re ready to go. If you’re not sure what’s next or how to get there, see how the services of Copper Quail Consulting can help you. 

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