If you’re feeling lost in your career, you might benefit from a professional development plan. This is a strategic agenda that outlines how you can achieve your career goals step by step. When you’re feeling confused, you can refer to your plan to make sure you’re still on track to meet your big-picture goals. It can also be motivational. If you’ve never created a professional development plan, you may be wondering where to start. Don’t stress: It’s not complicated. Here is how to create a professional development plan to achieve your goals!

Figure out what you want to do and articulate your goals

The first step in creating a professional development plan is to determine your goals. If you’re not sure what career path you want to pursue, start there. This career personality profiler from Truity can help you figure it out. Another option is to consult a career coach. Once you know what path you want to take, it’s time to set concrete goals. For example, say you decide you want to be in graphic design. What’s the end goal? Maybe you want to open your own agency, for example, or perhaps you want to get a top role at an ad agency. This guide explains how you can define your goals.

Assess your current skill set and figure out where more education is needed

You’ll need certain abilities to achieve your career goals, whatever they may be. Make sure you have the skills you need by completing a comprehensive self-assessment. For example, a business degree can be a great way to learn essentials like accounting, management, and communication, which can help you in all kinds of fields. See your options to find a program that’s right for you. Online programs are ideal because you can work and study simultaneously. Choose when and where you want to complete your degree with zero stress.

Create an action plan and a timeline for your development

You want to meet your goals sooner rather than later. Creating a timeline can help you stay motivated and on track. Outline concrete steps that you’ll have to take to achieve your short-term goals, which will add up to long-term achievements. Shorelight explains how to design an action plan, notably by creating SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. You can then pursue concrete steps like getting an internship or traineeship to advance your career.

Consider whether business ownership is right for you

If you weigh your career options and find that nothing appeals to you, it may be time to consider a nontraditional path. Entrepreneurship is one option. If you decide to start your own business, make sure to register it as a formal legal entity, which protects your personal liability and offers tax perks. You don’t have to pay an expensive attorney to get it done. Instead, use an online business formation service, picking one with positive user reviews to ensure reliability. Also, check your area’s laws about forming limited liability companies, LLCs, and other entities to see what the requirements are.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

When you’re focused on your career, you’re probably thinking you have to do it all yourself. The truth is that you can benefit from others’ support. For example, if you need help crafting a CV, a service like Ready To Go Resumes can help. If you’re generally struggling to determine what path to take, a career coach can help. There are many benefits to mentoring, such as being able to learn from someone else’s experiences and having an advocate who’s on your side.

Achieving career success requires some effort. Creating a professional development plan that covers essential steps like registering an LLC or furthering your education can simplify matters. With the above tips, you’ll know what to do.

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Jeruard Anderson

Author Jeruard Anderson

Jeruard's experience comes from Logistics, which he carries a Masters degree in. He is a Veteran of the Army and has spent several years working over seas for the Federal Government. His background is extremely valuable for the government sector.

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