Create A Great Professional Development Plan

Professional development plans steer your career to help you reach your goals, whether in Grapevine or elsewhere. Being specific and action-oriented makes your program more effective. Use these tips to develop your plan.

Define Your Goals

Evaluate your current career situation, and decide where you want to go—detail professional goals for future positions, career changes, skills, recognition, and certifications. Assign deadlines for those goals, so you can create a detailed timeline for achieving them. You can also use these goals to formulate detailed action plans to reach them.

Research the Process

With your goals in mind, research how to achieve them. For example, if you want to change career fields, determine if you need a new degree or certification for the new job. Then, find out how to earn credentials or certificates in your current area, such as how to become a CPA if you’re an accountant. This information helps you plan your path.

Document Your Progress

Recording your progress lets you determine if you’re sticking to the timeline. It can also be motivating to see how you’re improving—document classes, conferences, books, training sessions, and what you learned from them.

Spruce Up Your Resume

If your resume is outdated, freshen it to include the new skills and experience you’ve gained. Working on the resume now gives you time to create an exceptional resume instead of throwing something together quickly when you find a dream vacancy. Free online resume templates make it easier to create a professional-looking resume. Just plug in your data, photos, and images, and tweak the colors and fonts as desired to customize the resume.

Take Professional Development Courses

Professional development courses help you expand your experience and knowledge within your field. For example, say you have some medical coding experience through your hospital position. An online course in coding gives you a better understanding of assigning codes correctly, identifying various procedures, and completing claims accurately. You can apply for several medical coding online courses that often have assessments at the end that allow you to verify your knowledge and show your new skills. These courses can help improve your job performance, so your boss notices your work. They can also qualify you for new job opportunities.

Join Professional Organizations

Industry-specific organizations give you access to resources and learning opportunities that can advance your career. Not only do you learn more about your field, but you also have access to networking events, training, conferences, and other events. In addition, many professional associations also post job vacancies, which can help you find your ideal position.

Find a Mentor

Identify an expert in the Grapevine area who’s achieving things similar to your goals and ask them to be your mentor. For example, if you’re interested in opening a winery, reach out to winery owners along Grapevine’s Urban Wine Trail to see if any are willing to mentor you. Mentors give you access to expertise with less trial and error. Of course, you still must work for your achievements, but your mentor can help you avoid mistakes.

Plan Your Career Advancement

Creating your professional development plan incorporates many aspects, from taking courses and joining professional organizations to writing your resume and documenting your progress. 

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