September 27, 2017: Create Your Own Professional Development Opportunities

2016-2017 Issue 1

Have you ever developed or followed a Professional Development Plan (PDP)? Arising out of human capital management and organizational psychology theories, PDPs provide a tool for performance evaluations and a direction for the development of key skills to help us reach the next career milestone.

Such roadmaps are also intended to fuel employee engagement and provide a backbone for their day-to-day motivation. And when taken seriously and regularly referred to, they can indeed do all of the above.

But what if your manager or entire organization does not commit to this process? What if there are no opportunities for growth? Or what if your own career aspirations go beyond the current workplace?

Do not dismiss PDPs just yet! Like any process that leads to clarity, confidence and fulfillment, working on your professional development plan can be the exact thing you need to take control of your career. Here are some insights to make it happen:

  1. Define the destination

Remember the train analogy we used in introducing the 7-Step Career Roadmap? You don’t go to a train station to buy a random ticket in the hopes that the destination turns out exciting. Although you might enjoy the scenery and the chit-chat along the way, the potential disappointment with where you end up makes such a purchase premature and unnecessarily risky.

you first identify the city in which you want to end up, and then research the best means of transportation to get there.

So what is your next desired career layover?

  1. Determine the required documents

Now that you at least know the next stop-over, what are the skills you need to develop and demonstrate to get there?

  1. For instance, let’s say your current role focuses on analytics, meanwhile you aspire to develop marketing strategies out of those consumer insights. You might need to develop your story-telling abilities, your forecasting vision and your big-picture thinking.
  2. Are you in a technical or coordinator position and eyeing a project management career? Prospective employers will want to see you take the lead on planning, executing and reporting on key value-add initiatives.
  3. And if your dream job involves purchasing and negotiation, but your roles to-date have focused on inventory and implementation? Getting a solid grasp of the supplier landscape, honing your emotional self-control and keeping your cards more closely to your chest may serve you well.

Remember that employers prefer candidates who already fulfill their key requirements. Only nice-to-have’s will be trained on the job. So to position yourself for the next move, take ownership of the current one – even if it means forging new opportunities where none are readily made available. For specific suggestions on grabbing the bull by the horns, join us in two weeks’ time.

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.


2 Responses to “September 27, 2017: Create Your Own Professional Development Opportunities”
  1. RodL. says:

    When is the next workshop on Create Your Own Professional Development Opportunities?