Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Building a Professional Development Plan (Step 3)

Your objective in this final step is to create an action plan that will enhance your strengths, improve your weaknesses, and get your professional profile from step 1 looking more like the job description you created in step 2.

To get started, you will need to research professional development options and opportunities. Your choices should be accessible to you within the next 6 months. Internships and volunteering are very accessible options to gain experience and work on skills; in growing cases, internships and volunteer jobs can even be 100% telecommute. is a great place to start looking for virtual opportunities.

Below is a list of other options you can look into. Letters in the parenthesis represent the four professional development categories of your professional profile (knowledge, skills, experience, connections) that are affected.

Non-inclusive List of Professional Development Options

·         Read and understand a book (Ks)

·         Attend a learning event (KsC)

·         Take an online course (Ks)

·         Have regular meetings with a mentor (Kc)

·         Start a blog (kSEc)

·         Volunteer (SEc)

·         Take courses AT a local college (Ksc)

·         Become a direct sales consultant (KSEC)

·         Research a topic/subject of interest formally or informally (K)

·         Write and contribute articles to online publications (ksEc)

·         Join and participate in networking and professional groups (kC)

·         Intern (kSEc)

·         Plan and follow through on your own small project (ksec)

Take your time and be very selective. You want to make sure you are choosing options that will have a relevant impact on your professional value (your contribution to the growth and success of your business).

Once you feel you have found yourself a variety of options, it’s time to create your action plan. Below are the categories I recommend including in your action plan via a screen clip of how I’ve laid out my plan in Excel.

Click for a better view!

I would suggest your first item be something you can complete within the next 30 days so you don’t get discouraged working on a harder goal; alternate between hard and easy tasks when constructing your plan for the same reason.

Finally, creating your professional development plan in a spreadsheet and keeping it on your desktop makes for easy editing and retrieval.

Tell us your thoughts on our Building a Professional Development Plan series. Did we miss anything you think should be included? Comment below or send us an email!

#ShesaBoss and #theGB blog

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