Why do you need a Professional Development Plan Immediately?

Professional Development Plans (PDP) is simply what makes you and your goals more attainable. We all have tens of items on our bucket lists. If our aims and aspirations are not organized methodically, attaining even one of the goals is daunting.

Similarly, Professional Development Plans are actually written documents. It helps you prioritize, evaluate, and focus your attention, time, and effort towards achieving your goals and dreams. There is no one way to do it, and there are none that are wrong. However, if you are making a PDP, there are a few basic elements to keep in mind.

Why do you need a PDP?

The importance of using a PDP is often lost on goal-oriented people running towards their dreams. Let’s have a look at what makes PDP such a valuable resource, as pointed out by career coach Chrissy Scivicque of Eat Your Career:

  1. Evaluate what you want: The act of writing down your career plans forces you to figure out what you want your dreams. It makes re-evaluate your dreams, their outcomes, and how you hope to achieve it all. It will also help you learn more about yourself, your professional strengths and weaknesses, and how to use them, and how you may improve.
  2. Revise: Since a PDP is a written document, it allows you to come back to it whenever you wish. You can use it as a reference and reviewing and revising it throughout your career.
  3. Mind Map: A PDP gives you a visual demographic of your career. It is a roadmap of your growth that shows you all the gaps that need to be filled in order for you to succeed. For instance, your experiences, knowledge, skills, etc., that you need to still develop.
  4. Commitment: This is perhaps the most crucial reason you need a PDP. We all have goals, but most lack the commitment to see to its fruition. A PDP forces you to take responsibility for your growth, hold yourself accountable, and dedicate considerable time and energy to create and execute it.

Benefits of using a PDP

Creating a PDP makes you invest in huge amounts and the returns for these are invaluable to you and your career. Let’s point out some immediate returns an organized career plan can bring to you, as stated by Chrissy Scivicque in Eat your career:

  • Smooth career transitions upon discovering that the current path is not working out.
  • Chances of promotions are higher because now you are bringing your A game to your work.
  • Increased chances of raises.
  • Newer professional opportunities in your field.

How to build your PDP?

The professional world is dynamic to changes in the economy, advancement to technology and new teaching and learning methods. Even if you know the benefits of using a PDP, reaping its benefits may be a little daunting if you do not have a coherent method of approaching it. Dorie Clark in the article ‘Plan Your Professional Development for the Year,’ in Harvard Business Review illustrates a simplified method of beginning with the development of a PDP.

There are three stages to creating an effective PDP:

  1. Learning: This stage includes personal learning goals that are necessary to chalk out your entire professional map. Learning goals may be magnanimous, so start small. Ask yourself questions like what are your skills? What are your experiences? What is your educational background? Now, list out skills and areas of experiences your field of work requires. Compare your notes, are there any gaps? Are there areas you need to work on? You can even chart out better means of learning these new skills to enhance your performance.
  2. Connecting: This stage includes your connecting goals. How to succeed in your professional career by correctly networking. Dorie Clark in the article “A Campaign Strategy for Your Career,” had described about a color coded power map that would define the various relationships that can impact your career. This would require you to first identify the powerhouses of your company or the ones with the most influence in your professional field. In your map you can color it differently based on the relationship you have with them: yellow for very close, red for non-existent. Your goal for the year is to improve these relationships to better perform in your field, giving way to promotions and raises.
  3. Creating: There are two aspects to this stage: creating content and personal brand. This is the most important stage in building a PDP. It is important to create content and share your insights through speeches, podcasts, blogs, et al. in an engaging manner. It crystallizes your own knowledge and helps you to reflect and think deeply on the matter. The second is developing your personal brand is key to a successful career these days. The first step will help you build an expert reputation with time which in turn will lead to client inquiries, newer opportunities and respect in your field.

If you are ready to start planning today here is a free template!

Personal/Professional Development Plan Template

Effect of PDP on your Career

In today’s day and time, you want to be a world leader. You want to be one of those giants in the red-hot seat, commanding functions and operational activities. Cultivating your professional career into that of a world leader takes time, effort, and patience. It cannot happen overnight and requires the right mindset. Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, in book Five Minds for the Future, points out the correct mindset you need to be successful today:

  • Discipline: To achieve a mastery level in your field, it takes averagely about 10 disciplined years to achieve it.
  • Synthesized: Your mind needs experts to collect, evaluate, and organize information in a manner that may be effectively communicated to others.
  • Creative: Your mind needs to use your disciplined and synthesized mind to be able to create new information, research, generate ideas and questions, and innovate.
  • Respectful: This is the ability to understand and work with different cultures and individuals.
  • Ethical: This is the ability to understand their own work goes beyond simply their self-interest.


Some courses that may help you develop your skills in this area include:

Self Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Improving Mindfulness, Goal Setting, Developing Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Work-Life Balance


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If you are ready to start planning today here is a free template!

Personal/Professional Development Plan Template

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