Published on February 19, 2014
What is your current professional standing? Employed, unemployed, working for a company, business owner? Now think about where you want to be professionally. What steps will it take to get there?
Once you’ve assessed your current standing, it’s time to plan. Setting goals is a great way to ensure you reach your final professional destination. Start with the biggest, most-outlandish career aspiration and then work backward plotting every smaller goal you will need to accomplish to work up to the main one.
Now that you’ve set goals, research, research, research. Look up professional development courses, events, certifications and trainings that will help you achieve your goals. Make a list of where they’re offered, how much they cost and how long each will take. Then, go back to your goals and work each activity into a schedule, taking into account your deadlines and the fact that you have other commitments, e.g. work, family, etc.
This step is simple. Follow along with the plan being as punctual as possible. You don’t want to throw off your entire plan because you didn’t keep up with your planned professional development activities.
Track and monitor your progress as you go. This will not only help you stay on schedule, but will keep you updated on how close or far you are from reaching your target goal(s). You can reevaluate your plan at the end of every six months or one year, depending on your goals, to see if you’ll need more or less time and/or if you need or don’t need to accomplish certain goals and professional development activities.
This final step is very important. Remember that nothing goes according to plan. As you follow along with your professional development plan be prepared for curve balls and delays, but do not throw in the towel. Just because you made a plan does not mean it’s set in stone. Life happens and your plan(s) can and will change as circumstances do.
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