Career Development – How To Enhance Your Skills With Continuing Professional Development.
Many of us study for a professional qualification and then take up our first qualified post with a great sigh of relief. But how do you make sure that you continue to be effective and that you keep up with new developments? Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the learning and development you undertake that contributes to you doing just that. CPD can also be undertaken if you started a new job without any special qualifications but want to develop your skills to do your job better and to get to the next level.
Formal study leading to a qualification, which may be related directly related to your present job or to what you would like to do in the future.
In-house or external training provided by your employer
Conferences, workshops and seminars about your profession or your work sector – a great way to make contacts and find out about new developments
Membership of a planning groups or committees – for example, within your employing organization or within your professional organization
Work-based research – find out more from the internet or at your local library
Reading professional magazines and journals – lots of these are now on line
Relevant hobbies, leisure activities and voluntary work are a great way to network and make new contacts, as well as to contribute and to enjoy yourself.
Remember, the key to CPD is reflection on what you have learned and how you can apply it.
Once you understand fully what your work and your profession requires, make a plan for your CPD and make sure to keep any evidence you have of your CPD as it develops – keep certificates from previous study or training. Start a CPD portfolio. Don’t overlook internal training – make a note of what it was and who provided it with dates – add how it changed your ability to do your work.
Your CPD record and portfolio may prove vital when you apply for jobs in the future and it will certainly be useful when you are thinking about promotion.
CPD not only helps you to improve your knowledge, skills and competence in the workplace but to achieve your career goals. Over and above this, it contributes to your lifelong learning.
The CIPD provides useful guidance on organizing your CPD, including questions to help you reflect on your learning experiences and templates for recording CPD activity. There is also a section on managing CPD while on a career break.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link
We’ve heard over and over again how challenging the economy is today. With student loan debt the highest it has ever been, a steady unemployment rate, and a hugely competitive job market, very few people would deny the fact that the professional world can be unforgiving. Keeping your head above water in a climate like this is essential and one of the best ways to do so is by working to make yourself more valuable to your workplace. Continual professional development and professional growth are the best ways to remain relevant within a professional setting – you can become a student of your trade. Continuing your education with a focus on your job and industry is a worthwhile and effective step to take for your professional well-being. Consider these options for continuing education towards your professional growth.
Online Courses and Learning
There are few better ways to create more opportunities for yourself within the office than by seizing opportunities in the classroom. With advances in online technologies, there are more and more options online for individuals looking for a quality education. The online classroom provides the best possible option for individuals looking for expanded knowledge without sacrificing their nine to five schedule. Professionals can earn useful degrees, qualifications, or simply take a class or two completely online and on their own time. Many companies and employers will offer some sort of educational reimbursement for classes that relate to their area of work. If an official online college program or classes isn’t right for you, you can also consider open courseware classes. Major big name universities like MIT, Yale, Stanford, and many more offer free online versions of their classes. Look at your options and take advantage of what these institutions have to offer.
Professional Associations and Memberships
Investigate the various clubs and associations involved with your area of work or industry. Many of these clubs and association memberships can be wonderful tools for networking, expanding knowledge, and staying in touch with recent news in your field. Many employers will support employees with association memberships and they can become large pluses on an individual’s resume. No matter what area of business or industry you are active in, there are likely many different associations and professional groups dedicated to the subject. Carefully evaluate your many options and decide which memberships seem the most useful for you and your purposes.
Educational Travel and Conferences
Conferences and professional travel, can bring huge plusses to your day-to-day work life. Of course, you can get more than just a free vacation, conferences travel can also be extremely educational and beneficial to your professional development. Research the various conferences offered related to your line of work. Because conferences can be pricy and time consuming it is important that you really research your options. Try to find the conference and lectures that you think you can really gain from. Any effort to learn more about your trade will be viewed as a positive thing in the eyes of your employer and on your resume.