The job market in today's industry is changing now, no matter what industry you work in, staying competitive is most important for everyone to achieve their career goals. Investing in yourself for your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the only way to stay competitive and stand out from the crowd in the job market. Those who understand the importance of CPD reap the following benefits:
New advancement opportunities
Higher salaries or position
Increased overall career satisfaction
In this article, we talk about the importance of career growth or professional development, how to advance your career, and answer some common questions about CPD.
What is Continuous Professional Development
CPD stands for Continuous Professional Development. It is considered a process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge, and experience (formally or informally) you acquire while on the job, beyond initial training. The term CPD describes the learning activities that professionals participate in to develop and improve their skills throughout their careers.
CPD enables conscious and proactive learning rather than passive and reactive and is the holistic commitment of professionals to improving personal skills and competencies. The learning methods under the CPD are as follows, all these are geared towards individual improvement and effective professional development.
Conferences and events
Best practice techniques
Differences between personal and professional development
Personal and professional development are closely linked, and striving for one often promotes the other. Professional development focuses on gaining new experiences and skills to positively impact your current position and any role you are likely to play in your career. Personal development is a process that continues throughout life. It is considered a way for people to assess their abilities and qualities, consider their goals in life, then set the goals in order to reach and maximize their potential.
Ways to Professional Development
While there can be dozens of ways to develop professionally, the 3 most popular and effective ways are as follows:
Have a learning mindset for continuing education
Attend or take training courses to develop your skills
Educate others about what you know
Ways to Personal Development
To achieve your personal growth you need to look toward the goal you have set for your life and/or career, then design the best strategy to reach it and focus on it. the ways that you should use to succeed in achieving your goal are as follows:
Avoid negative thoughts
Believe in yourself
Be passionate about what you do
Surround yourself with positive people
Never stop learning new things
Learn from your mistake
Collaborate with others
Be good to others and be grateful
CPD strategies for your career growth
These are the steps you need to follow to grow in your career.
1. Set detailed goals based on your expectations
Setting detailed and measurable goals gives you the ideas to create actionable steps that will help you meet the goals in an appropriate manner. You must keep measuring your performance at every step to motivate yourself in the long run. Some of the examples for your career growth or goals include;
Obtaining a degree or diploma from a college or university
Deciding to start a career in a growing industry
Earning certification or qualification from the industrial training institute
Work for an organization in the industry
Develop skills by learning the new technology and gaining a new qualification
2. A step-by-step plan will get you closer to your goal
After you set your goals, you need to break them down into a step-by-step action plan. For example, you may have set your goals of working in the oil and gas or petroleum industry or making a career in the oil and gas industry as a quality controller Inspector (i.e. QA QC Inspector). Do you think you can easily get a job in the oil industry? No, it's hard because the job market is full of people like you and the oil companies accept the job application from those who have the right academic and industry-based qualifications and knowledge or experience.
So, before you apply for a job in the oil and gas industry, your first step will be to attend training courses to gain the skills and industry-based qualifications necessary for you to be able to apply for an available job in the oil and gas industry.
3. Identify potential areas for your professional growth
Not one, but there are multiple skills that you will need to get to help you reach your desired goals. Search and make a list of the skills, and knowledge you will need to develop or acquire in order to pursue or grab the desired opportunities/jobs and/or to gain your next anticipated career opportunity. This might include:
Learning soft skills, such as MS Excel, Word, etc.
Learning a new area of expertise, such as effective communication
Gaining experience in skills associated with a higher-level position, such as Level 3 qualification in inspection and quality control
Taking part in workshop activities and answering technical questions on social platforms to broaden your professional network
Be sure to prioritize your list by relevance to your next anticipated career opportunity.
4. Research learning options
Once you've identified the skills you want to develop or acquire, it's time to determine how to achieve them. A good place to start is with The Institute for Oil & Gas Sector (IOGS). IOGS is an educational institution for the oil and gas or petroleum industry and offers cost-effective training and certification courses to develop industry-based skills in the specific work field in the oil and gas industry. Both online and classroom options are available for you.
Once you've decided how you want to develop your skills and/or earn an industry-based qualification to start or grow your career, create a document detailing the learning opportunities you want to pursue, their cost, time, and learning method (online or offline). The time should include the following things;
When a course or conference is offered
The total time you have to spend
5. Develop a professional development plan now
At this point, you have to develop a professional development plan (PDP) by using the steps above. The proposed PDP should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (i.e. called SMART). After the document is developed, you have to use this in an appropriate way to reach your set goals. This document serves as a roadmap to achieving the desired goal you have set for yourself and for your career growth or development.
Make sure to include the following in PDP you developed:
Result that you are going to get when your goal is achieved
Timeframe and plan
Duration to accomplish your plan
If the plan you've developed for your professional development has goals that take several years to complete, break it down into phases to show what you want to achieve at each milestone.
6. Pitch your plan
You are now at the stage where you begin to implement the strategies and plans you have set out to achieve your goal. Make sure you always focus and intend on following the steps of the plan, measuring performance after each milestone, and then taking action when a loop is found. “Hope for the best; plan for the worst.”
Professional Development FAQs
Where I can find opportunities for professional growth?
Professionals often find opportunities to learn and grow on the job or from their surroundings. Talk to your superiors and colleagues about growth opportunities, such as what skills they have gained to handle the current work or position, or what training courses or seminars they have attended. Look for events and workshops you can attend. You can also pursue professional growth by doing your own research, reading books or articles/blogs, and searching for training resources online.
Is professional growth different from professional development?
Development is a process of progress or growth in a career, etc., and requires an action that creates growth. Professional growth is often achieved by learning and trying new and challenging things throughout a career.
What can I do if I feel stuck and have stopped growing professionally?
If that's the case, you better take a break from your daily routine and then change your mindset before you can start growing. You first need to start generating a new attitude in yourself, then doing one or more of the following may be helpful:
Find a new job
Shift yourself to new people or work environment
Change your boss
Find a new way of learning
Gain at least one new skill and qualification every year
Are there any downsides to a lack of professional growth?
Doing the same thing (we often call it "the same shit different day") for a period of time or longer, say years, will not only stop you from growing, but you might start to regress. What you need to do here is reverse this process. To reverse the process, you must challenge yourself and expose yourself to an environment where you can continually grow.
Does professional growth lead directly to a promotion?
Career growth and promotion are often linked, but you should not consider promotion a goal of your career growth. You should always remember that your main goal should be to improve yourself and your performance. You must be committed to your professional growth as your ultimate goal is to learn and expand your career opportunities where promotion is not guaranteed. If you find that your current position in an organization is limited due to your growth, you can always look/search for the other available opportunities outside of the organization.
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