How are you doing? Have you heard of the saying “What got you to where you are is not enough to take you to where you want to go ?” As you define your career progression path, you equally have to map out the requirements needed to enable you to reach your destination. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a pro-active, self-directed development plan, whereby you are in the driving seat setting out your development objectives that align to defined career goals.

It is a pivotal tool that enables you to strengthen capabilities/competencies from basic to intermediate to advanced, work on identified weaknesses (possibly received as feedback from Line Manager, peers, stakeholders etc), enhance strengths and acquire additional required skills.

There are multiple positive rewards from embarking on an active CPD plan, ranging from; enhanced confidence derived from improved capability, increased networking opportunities via course/conference attendance, keeping abreast of latest techniques/tools/technology related to your field. There is a belief that “learning on the job” equates to CPD, however, this is a flawed misconception; as you are only learning about the job you are doing today and not developing yourself for the job you want tomorrow.

So how do you plan for your tomorrow? Firstly you need to ask yourself a few key career questions:

 

Where am I today?

Be brutally honest about what you know, what you have learned both formally and informally, lessons learnt, feedback received.

Where do you want to be tomorrow?

Clearly write down your career goals for the next 3, 5 and 10 years. By so doing you are providing a framework for your CPD journey. It is also beneficial to write down 3-5 shorter termSMART objectives.

What do I need to do to get there?

Review your career goals and research what you need to do to achieve them; further academic training, professional qualifications. For shorter terms goals, it could be as simple as completing an online course, asking a colleague with experience or someone who has achieved your career goal to be your mentor.

 

Your CPD plan is a living document

Review/update your plan at regular intervals; bimonthly, quarterly or bi-annually and ensure you stick to it. ……..this ensures continuity in your professional development. The key is to take the first step to enable you to achieve your next goal. Where am I Today? Where do I want to be Tomorrow? What do I need to do to get there?