Either at the start of the career or after some years on the same job position, some people might start thinking what would be the steps that I should take for my future.
And it is normal that when finishing the university or when a professional has the feeling of a career change, the unknown of the future comes by.
Why are people getting anxious about the future?
I also had the same anxiety of what decision to take when I finished my career.
In that time, I had the questions of either searching for a job at Monterrey, or coming back home and work at the family business.
Of course as a 24 year old, we are supposed to be a bit more mature, but the thing is that we actually are not.
And we might never really mature more than usual.
But as we get older, and different professional ways start to come out, we deal we the uncertainity.
Do we really have to decide what to do for our rest of our lives when we finish university?
Or if we back a bit more, does deciding what we will study will define ourselves?
That is why change exist.
But some might have the feeling that they have to decide now in order to follow a perfect career.
Unless you are fully aware of the future that you want at 18, then go ahead.
But as I have seen and lived by myself, change is a constant in people’s life.
And for me it is perfectly fine to decide a drastical change when you feel you need to make a change.
Sometimes it may be scary to take an unknown path on a professional level, but sometimes it is also a way where you can further develop yourself in new skills.
For some people who search for how to create a professional development plan, my recommendation is easy.
Visualize what are the things that you want and move forward to it.
If you want to be a writer, just start writing anything.
In my opinion, nobody has to tell you what are you meant to be.
But if you start working, behaving and developing yourself as if you are in the position that you want, you will slowly build up yourself to be who you want to become.
If you find obstacles on your way, either keep trying or go around.
Your inner person already knows what type of professional career you want.
It might be at certain industry, or a specific job position, or as well an entrepreneur.
Remember that a plan is worthless if there is no action.
So, when I graduated I didn’t knew that I was going to end up having experience in one of the top 50 companies in Germany.
But my actions of desiring having again an international experience, working at the family business and saving up money, applying for 3 masters, beind accepted in 1 and then landing in a student job where the ones who made possible to achieve one of the greatest proffesional experiences I had.
Another advice: yes, you can give up one day, but don’t wake up the next day giving up on the dreams that you have.
Life brings up changes, and we never know what the future brings.
How about now to aim into being an international entrepreneur.
That could be one of my new desires.
Work, faith and patience.
Setting goals throughout life is a cycle that never stops; along the way we may achieve some goals, but fail at others.
Therefore, a professional development plan is a resource that allows you to move towards achieving your goals. You are responsible for improving your professional situation by designing a plan based on your capabilities and opportunities.
A career development plan is a document that allows you to better understand what you want to achieve in your career through a series of strategic steps.
It is a guide that defines how to achieve your goals and the starting point to begin to grow professionally.
Having a structured professional projection is the basis for developing your career successfully.
Although some changes may arise during the development process, it is key to maintain the vision and if you have a plan it is just a matter of redirecting strategies.
You need a professional development plan or career plan to improve your current situation, no matter where you are now.
Therefore, you should know its importance, what are the steps to create it and how to implement it successfully.
Having plans is the best way to direct our actions towards success.
This way we avoid following the wrong route and delaying the achievement of our goals.
If you want to keep growing, you cannot do without your professional development plan, because it is the best way to measure your efforts in the short, medium and long term.
Understanding the importance of a professional development plan will help you plan strategies according to your current needs.
Therefore, the benefits can be diverse:
Having aspirations for success at work is something that many professionals think about.
However, few decide to plan how to achieve that success.
To develop professionally, the first thing you need to do is to change your attitude towards the future and follow some important steps:
It is certainly essential to set goals in order to create a professional development plan.
Goals allow you to have a vision of what you want to achieve in the short, medium or long term, as long as they are feasible.
One of the goals to begin to forge professional development after obtaining a diploma is to continue training to acquire more technical skills.
It is necessary that you do not stop in your learning, because you may risk missing out on opportunities.
Career goals can be prioritized so that your development is scalable.
It is also important that they meet SMART parameters, i.e., that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. In this regard, you may consider the following:
These goals are just a few examples, but ideally they should be defined according to your needs and aspirations.
It will also be essential to adjust your goals as you advance in your career, the important thing is to evaluate your progress and move forward.
Remember that professional growth is permanent, not a short-term plan.
A professional development plan includes objectives, strategies, tasks, resources and deadlines.
But before organizing all these elements, it is necessary to make a diagnosis of your current situation to have a better vision of the path you want to follow.
The steps must be well structured with a clear vision from the beginning so that you don’t lose time halfway.
The best way to start your professional development plan is to self-assess yourself in areas such as knowledge, soft and technical skills, aspirations and interests, and your financial situation.
Determining where you stand on each of these factors is crucial to mapping out your goals.
You need to do a good analysis of all your skills and detail them very well.
At this point you can put your performance in a work team, level of communication, time management among others.
Also do not forget that this is a diagnosis, therefore, you must put your weaknesses and threats.
For example, if you have a hard time communicating with your boss, if you have weaknesses in time management or if you have not achieved a specialization that will help you in your performance.
As mentioned earlier, your objectives should comply with the SMART method, to increase the likelihood of achievement.
When setting your objectives or goals it is imperative to make a prioritized list, starting with the most challenging to the easiest to achieve.
It is also helpful to categorize your goals into short, medium or long term.
It is a time-consuming task, but when you start writing you will realize that you have a lot of things to improve and you will feel more motivated.
A clear goal can be: achieve a promotion in the company next year.
From there, you can start designing the strategies that will be the next step of the plan.
Strategies are key to your professional development plan.
Once you have your objectives defined, it is time to get going and adjust your actions to achieve them.
At this point, the strategies indicate how you are going to act from now on to meet each proposed objective.
Let’s look at some examples:
If your goal is focused on improving your skills as a software engineer, the strategy may be to participate as a volunteer in a new advanced software project in your company.
This will allow you to acquire the technical knowledge of new technologies.
In the same example of the software engineer, the resource would be the learning opportunities within the company.
In this sense, a resource is any element within your reach that allows you to accomplish your goals.
Places like academies, professional improvement institutions are resources.
Likewise, virtual spaces today offer many opportunities for workshops, videoconferences, webinars, master classes and more learning opportunities.
Other resources to include in your professional development plan may be mentors or co-workers who have a more senior position.
Don’t forget networking activities because they are an essential resource for your growth.
To follow through on your plan, you should set deadlines that will help you progress over time.
When you meet your goals within the deadline, you will become increasingly proactive and will be able to develop a growth mindset.
You need to plan your goals annually in order to actualize your aspirations and steer your growth in the right direction.
If you are looking for a job, you should set deadlines for all your activities.
For example, in two weeks you will make 10 contacts from different companies or improve your LinkedIn profile in one week.
You can also set a two-month deadline to read three books on personal and professional growth.
In this way you acquire knowledge and at the same time you can put it into practice in your work.
After organizing your professional development plan, don’t forget to measure your progress frequently, this will allow you to better align your objectives and attack weaknesses at the right time.
A professional development plan will make you a better employee and if you don’t have a job, you will get what you are looking for by applying each strategy in an organized manner.
The best thing is that it will change your professional perspective, to access better opportunities throughout your career.