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Continual Professional Development – Up To You Or Your Boss?

Written by: Morgan Hunt
Published on: 28 Jul 2014

Empower yourself and put a plan together to keep you on top of your game. What 5 things should you consider for that plan?

Taking responsibility for your career development can be daunting, but whatever the reasons, evaluating not only your performance but contribution and success to the company can help determine the direction you choose when you come to a career crossroads or performance review.

Give yourself the tools to not only defend yourself against criticism but put you in the driving seat of your professional development. Whether it’s negotiating a pay rise, promotion or movement to another department Information and knowledge is influence.

Continual professional development (CPD) is a method that helps you manage your own development on an ongoing basis. Its purpose is to help you record, review and reflect on what you learn but whose job is it to ensure you’re getting where you need to go in your career? Whilst your boss may hold the cards on your career progression it is actually you who’s in charge of your career fate.

5 steps to making a plan;

  • Keep a record – Get a diary, calendar or even a photo album or just record your thoughts in whatever way best suits you. If you’re someone who loves to write things down - write them down in detail, or make notes on post it notes as and when things happen make sure you document the key insights and learning points you’re taught.

Why? - The process of writing makes you think about your experiences at the time, and makes planning and reflection much easier. You can't review your experiences without recording them, however good your memory is.


  • Review, review, review - Reflect on your key experiences over the previous year or over the past three months. Reflect on what you learned, what insights it gave you and what you might have done differently and how it’s impacted your job – for better or worse.

Why? – This allows for some degree of monitoring through self assessment and provides you with the ability to know your own mind when faced with a performance review. It’s not all one sided however, reviewing your professional development is also the responsibility of your boss. Reviewing your reflections together can make for a better working understanding and should work out to a 50/50 split.


  • Know your career goals - where do you want to be in two, five and 10 years' time? Give yourself no more than three specific and achievable short term objectives to get there, including the dates by which you want to achieve them.

Why? – Can you imagine trying to use a map but not knowing the destination? Same goes for your career, you need to know the end goal before you can get there.

  • Action your goals. It’s all very well knowing that you want to be CEO in 10 years time but how do you get there? Figure out ways to get ahead; this could include further training, job or role progression or changes in direction.

Why? – Although you might think that doing your time in the right role in the right company will get you your career progression, it’s about your ability. Length of service shows your loyalty to the company, but what does your track record in performance show? Does it make you stand out to be noticed for the top jobs?

  • Include the first step - what you can do today or tomorrow. For example, having a chat with your manager about a new responsibility or finding out about new technology from a colleague who has experience of it.

Why? – It’s all very well putting the perfect plan together; it’s another to actually put it into practise. There’s no point having this incredible plan if only you know about it? As soon as you’ve jotted down some points find a way to action them as soon as possible, otherwise it will sit on the shelf.

  • Set a date – Make plans in advance for a review of the objectives you've set yourself. You can either do this from one review to the next or decide to review regularly - once every three, six or 12 months. Put it in your diary and do it! The cycle of continuing professional development begins with you.

Why? – If you’re making plans share them with the decision makers of your career.

Gaining qualifications, building experience and reflecting on your goals are all valuable ways to progress your career. Sometimes demonstrating your skills to yourself is just as important as demonstrating them to current and potential employers. Get in touch with our team today to find out more about enhancing your career development.

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