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4 Tips on How to Plan Your Professional Development for the Next Year

4 Tips on How to Plan Your Professional Development for the Next Year

SmartPH | Dec 14, 2016 - 10:12 AM

With the new year almost upon us it’s time to start making plans for the next one. Now, you could do what you do most years and that is plan to exercise, lose some weight or smoke less. That will probably work out as well as it did the last few times you said you’d do these things.

Alternatively, you could do something that will actually help you next year and decide to make some plans for how you’re going to develop professionally. If you’d like to do the former, well then see you in the next article. If you’d like to do the latter, however, then I’ve got some great tips for you!

Start with learning goals

The best way to figure out how you’re going to improve your skill set is by setting learning goals – and the best way to make sure that you’ve set the right goals is by realizing where in your skill set you’ve found yourself lacking or struggling.

Go back over your year and see if during that time there were any projects or work assignments where you really struggled. Then, identify why it was you struggle and what skills, knowledge or abilities would make it less likely to be as difficult to do so in the future.

Have you gotten any better at these skills? Do you think you could get better yet?

If you’d like to get better yet, the next step is to find out the ways you can learn. Find out what books there are on the topic that you could read, or what courses you could follow either online or off. Don’t neglect to ask other people in your field that are very good at the skill you’d like to learn what advice they can give.

This will both give you an opportunity to compliment somebody who deserves it as well as get tips, tricks and good advice from somebody who actually knows their stuff.

Focus on basic knowledge

Basic knowledge, such as sciences, psychology, marketing and more, are always areas that we can improve in, as they will come in handy in all walks of life and all future career decisions. The best part is, you no longer need to join a college or pay for expensive programs to improve your basic knowledge in lots of different areas. There are plenty of tools like Ted Talks and  edX available out there to help you out!

Create connecting goals

Yes, the adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ has been done to death. That’s because there is definitely some truth in there. If you want to get ahead, then it’s important to connect to new people in the industry that can open doors and help you boost your authority.

If you’re working in an office a good strategy is to figure out who has influence and power over your future and whether you’re going to get promoted. In this case, you should draw a power map. This is where you put in everybody who you think has a say in the matter of where your career will move in the next few years. Then code the connections you’ve got with these people. Green for a strong positive connection, yellow for a weaker connection and red for one that is non-existent or even negative.

Then, spend the next year improving those connections that are the weakest and you should be in a much better position to reap the benefits in the months to come.

Build up other areas in your life

You never know where the next opportunity is going to come from. It might not even be internal. For that reason, always look to build up outside opportunities. This will open new doors that you might never have thought of. For example, take some time to volunteer or help out. This will boost your mood, which will serve to make you do better at work, as well as your standing.

There are volunteer opportunities for students and adults a plenty. All you need to know is where to look. You can also just ask at the school of your kids, or those of your friends that are civic minded. Then you’ll have an opportunity to bond with them as well.

Last words

Advancing your career is all about becoming a better person. If you make sure that you are learning and growing and that you’re establishing the connections that you need, then your career will improve almost automatically.


Of course, it does help if you focus on the right paths. But with this article and the points I’ve outline above that shouldn’t be a problem. So good luck with 2017 and let me know if and how these simple steps help your career take off. 


About the author: Rick Riddle is a career advisor, life coach and an up-and-coming blogger. As a part of OKdissertations team, he writes mostly about e-learning, career, entrepreneurship and blogging. Follow @rickrddl on twitter.





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