5 ways a personal development plan can help your communications career
Companies generally herald the end of the year with the often-dreaded employee review.
While an annual review is an opportunity to learn how you are viewed by your supervisor, it offers only a top down view on which you must base not only your reply, but your planning for the following year.
It is a reactive, rather than proactive, planning tool.
A personal development plan, on the other hand, is a proactive plan based on your assessment of your skills, values and goals. It has three main components: the personal analysis, the statement of goals and the measureable objectives (milestones) you will achieve at specific times to keep you on track to achieve your goals.
Your purpose in creating a personal development plan is to compare where you are in your career to where you want to be and determine necessary steps to bridge the divide.
Here are five key ways a personal development plan can help your communications career.
1. Identify your dream
Your personal development plan is a strategy for your career, but your career can be a strategy for your life.
For example, if your dream is to start your own PR agency but you’re employed at a large company, ask yourself why. Perhaps it’s for the opportunity to learn valuable business practices, or so you can save money to launch your business. However, if you cannot readily identify a reason, you might decide to look for a job at the type of agency you’d like to create to learn how it operates, or look for an agency mentor through your professional organization or college association.
2. Gain purpose and direction
Now that you know where you want to go, let your purpose be your guide.
Set milestones, goals with dates by which you plan to achieve them. Say no to the opportunities and tasks that don’t help you move forward in the direction of your goals.
3. Increase self-awareness
By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can determine how you are going to build on your strengths and opportunities, improve the areas where you are weak and navigate the obstacles that are in your way.
4. Focus on objectives
What are your six-month objectives? Your 12 month? Whether it’s gaining skills, asking for a promotion or changing jobs, establishing short and long term objectives will help you achieve them.
Write them down and then think about what you need to do now to be ready to meet those objectives. Sign up for a class now so you can gain those business planning skills. Keep records of your achievements at work so you’re ready to ask for that promotion. Tell a few trusted friends that you’re thinking about making a change and what you might be looking for, so they can alert you to opportunities.
5. Feel empowered
When you have a map, you navigate more confidently. Even with a wrong turn, it’s easier to get back on track when you know where you’re headed. Likewise, a personal development plan reminds you of your dream, so that you can focus on the road ahead.
Have you created a personal development plan? If so, share your thoughts!
Lorraine Schuchart, APR, is the founder and CEO of Prosper for Purpose, a communications and development firm that helps businesses, nonprofits and individuals maximize their impact by optimizing their brands. Lorraine is a strategist, speaker and writer with 30 years of experience. Prosper is a Certified B (for benefit) corporation.
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