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Get Started with Your Professional Development Plan!

Let's talk Professional Development! Whether you're currently a student or working in your chosen career field or anywhere in between, ongoing professional development is important! The great news is that there are MANY options for you to make progress with your own professional skills and goals and it's easy to get started.

Here is a list to get you started thinking about ways you can improve on your professional skills this year:

  • Take online courses

  • Attend a workshop or a conference

  • Set up a mentorship for the year

  • Read articles or books

Take Online Courses

Ongoing education doesn't have to mean going after another degree. Education can also be useful through online coursework. Websites such as for example, includes hundreds of online courses on various topics. If you are currently employed, check with your employer to see whether there are courses available to you already. Leverage any professional development resources through your current employer when possible.

Attend a Workshop or a Conference

Sign up for a short workshop or conference this next year! Research events happening near you or virtually. These events are great not only to learn new skills or content but also can be a wonderful opportunity to network with others! You might make connections to help you find career opportunities or learn something new about other career fields.

Set up a Mentorship for the Year

Make a list of people you would like to meet with throughout this next year as part of a mentorship opportunity. It is best to meet at least quarterly with a Mentor so that you have time to set goals, meet and discuss, and then make progress towards those goals before your next meeting. Mentors can be within your career area or in a completely different sector. The most important part is finding one or more mentors that are willing to meet with you and to provide honest and open feedback to you regarding your questions, goals, and performance. From that feedback, you can gain great insight into areas where you need additional development moving forward.

Having a mentor can really help you on your career journey in many ways including:

~Discuss and receive advice on career goals

~Receive assistance with finding job, internship, career opportunities

~Gain feedback on professional performance or skills

Read Articles or Books

Reading is always helpful no matter the topic. For your professional development, consider making a goal to read a certain number of articles per week or a book each month on career-focused topics. Consider picking up a professional magazine the next time you're at the store. Or, start bookmarking your favorite professional website (such as That Purple Book ahem...) and review their articles. Over time, you will gain new insight and information by reading a little each day.

Sign up with the Member Community to access FREE templates for Resumes, Cover Letters, Interview prep, and more!

Making Your Plan

Now that you have some ideas on WHAT you can do, it's time to put that information into a plan. Make sure your plan includes more details and timelines so that you can track your progress throughout the year. Remember that is plan is YOURS so feel free to update it as needed throughout the year. The main point is that you're being intentional about your goals for the year and listing when and how you plan to reach those professional development goals.

Example Plan

September 2021 - 2022 Professional Development Plan for Sarah

Goal 1=Expand leadership skills

Tasks: Complete 1 online course per month on leadership and teamwork topics.

Purpose: Expand understanding of what it takes to be a good leader in both a small team and large team setting. Gain insight into ways I can incorporate new skills in order to be a more effective leader now.

In summary, get started today drafting your professional development plan for this next year. The sooner you create your plan, the sooner you can start making progress. And remember, you can always update or change your plan if needed. The most important part is creating the plan to help guide you forward.

Next Step:

* Join the Member Community to access templates for resumes, cover letters, interview prep and more

* Start making your list of professional goals

* Start making your draft professional development plan.

* Set timelines for your goals and the get started today!

Also Read:

* 3 Key Tips for Networking Events

* Get your Peeps Involved in Your Career Process - Build Your Career Team!

* Craft your Digital Professional Brand!

Stay tuned for more advice and tips from That Purple Book! Connect with That Purple Book across social media @ThatPurpleBook

Connect with me at with questions. ~Sarah

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