As a career coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of professionals to help them create comprehensive, personalized Professional Development Plans (PDP). If you’re just getting started creating your PDP, you may have some questions. The following will help provide clarity regarding what a Professional Development Plan is, why you need one, and how to create your own.
A Professional Development Plan (or PDP) is a written document used to focus, evaluate and prioritize professional development goals and activities.
The process of writing a PDP forces you to define what you really want from your career and how you’re going to get it in real terms. The act of writing it down on paper (or typing it) allows you to gain greater clarity. As you go through the process, you will gain a greater understanding of yourself, including your professional strengths and areas for improvement.
With the help of a comprehensive PDP, you can achieve more in your career, including:
In short, everyone can benefit from creating a PDP. It’s an essential tool for anyone who takes their career seriously.
Depending on your individual needs, your PDP may include a variety of different elements. However, most PDPs include short and long-term career goals, a list of the professional development areas of focus, and a list of development activities broken down by quarter.
I recommend a simple 10-step process, which I created based on years of work as a career coach. This process will help you create your own comprehensive, well-organized PDP documents.