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A Brief Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Professional Development Plan


Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels


A professional development plan is a written document that outlines your short- and long-term goals. It also includes the steps you will take to reach those goals. Creating a professional development plan can boost your career by helping you stay focused, understand your strengths and weaknesses, get the necessary training or education, and adjust your roles as needed. Here, the Port Jervis Newsroom explores how to create a professional development plan so you can stay on the right career track.


Looking to Start Your Own Business Someday?

The first step in creating a professional development plan is understanding what it takes to start a business. If that’s your ultimate goal, research what type of business structure is right for you and what licenses or permits you will need. You should also develop a business plan that includes your business goals, strategies, and a budget.


Do You Have the Necessary Skills and Qualifications?

Once you have a clear understanding of what it takes to start a business, you need to assess your skills and knowledge. Do an honest inventory of what you know and what areas you need to work on. This will help you identify the steps you need to take to reach your goals. For example, if you want to be a sales manager but don’t have any experience in sales, you will need to get some sales experience under your belt before applying for management positions.


Do You Need Additional Training or Education?

If you find that there are gaps in your skills or knowledge, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to fill those gaps! There are many options for training and education, including online courses, community college courses, seminars, and workshops. Once you have completed the necessary training or education, be sure to add it to your resume so potential employers can see that you are qualified for the positions you are applying for.


Will Your Resume Stand Out From the Rest?

Now that you have updated your resume with your new skills and qualifications, it’s time to create a top-tier resume that will help you stand out from the competition. The best solution is to start with a format that is appropriate for your experience and your industry. Then, follow online guides to ensure that your resume is consistent and easy to read. Then, tailor each resume specifically for the job you are applying for by highlighting the skills and experience that match the job requirements. Finally, proofread your resume carefully so that there are no grammar or spelling errors.


Are You Prepared to Hold Various Positions?

As you gain more experience and knowledge, you may find that your roles within your company change. For example, if you start out as an entry-level employee but complete a management training program, you may be promoted to manager. As your roles change, so will your responsibilities. Be sure to document these changes so that potential employers can see all of the valuable experience and skills you have acquired over time.


Keep Close Track of Your Progress

Once you have created your professional development plan and started working toward achieving your goals, it’s important to document your development along the way. This documentation will come in handy when writing performance reviews or applying for promotions. Keep track of milestones such as completing training programs or being promoted to new positions. This documentation will help demonstrate how well you have done in meeting (and even exceeding) expectations in previous roles – something potential employers will certainly be interested in seeing!


Develop a Professional Network

The old adage is true: it’s not what you know, but who you know. So start building your professional network today. Start by creating a LinkedIn profile. This business-based social network is a great place to make connections with people in your industry. While you want to build your connections list, don’t friend everyone in your contact list. Be strategic. Start with current and past coworkers, and network out from there.


You should also put yourself out there through networking events. Even if you feel like a nobody in your industry, don’t be intimidated. Get some business cards, go out and talk to other professionals. You might even find a mentor during this process who can help guide you as you move up in the ranks at work.


Make a Plan and Start Moving Up

A professional development plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to boost their career – whether they are just starting out or are already established in their field. By understanding what it takes to start a business (if that’s your goal), assessing your skills and knowledge, getting the necessary training or education, creating a top-tier resume, adjusting your professional roles along the way, and documenting your development, you can set yourself up for success both now and in the future.


Are you looking for more information about and for residents of Port Jervis? Then add the Port Jervis Newsroom to your weekly e-reading list!

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