Professional development refers to the maintenance and improvement of your skills. It allows you to adapt to the needs of your ever-changing career field. 

Tips to Expand your Professional Development 

It is easy to get lost in your day-to-day responsibilities and completely forget about developing your profession. Below are a few tips to help you do both: 

  • Take on new challenges at work
  • Find a mentor in the office
  • Shadow a colleague 
  • Help coworkers develop their skills 
  • Do a distance learning course 
  • Create a professional development plan
A woman working on her professional development on a laptop.

How to Create a Professional Development Plan

A well-structured professional development plan will help you achieve your career aspirations. Follow these simple steps to create your own:

  1. Self-evaluation
  2. Goals
  3. Game Plan 
  4. Timelines 

1. Self-Evaluation 

The first step in creating your development plan is to assess your current professional skills and knowledge. This an opportunity for you to examine and evaluate your current position. As well as how it aligns with your current skills.

Once these qualities have been assessed, you can identify how you need to improve to move forward with your career goals.

2. Goals 

The goals in your development plan should be listed according to the SMART framework. 

Each element in this framework builds on each other to create goals that are detailed, clear, and measurable.

The SMART acronym stands for: 

S – Specific 

M – Measurable 

A – Achievable 

R – Relevant

T – Timely 

It is a good idea to list your goals from the highest priority to the least. This way they are easy to identify and you do not lose sight of what is important. 

3. Game Plan 

Your game plan will consist of strategies with a variety of approaches. Here you need to explain how you will achieve your goals. 

Do not shy away from experimenting with strategies. You never know which one will be successful. 

Here’s what to keep in mind when creating your game plan:

  • Research courses or certifications you may need to achieve your goals
  • Reach out to a professional if advice is needed 
  • Consider alternative ways to build your skillset  (think outside the box!)

4. Timeline

Throughout your development, it is essential to keep in mind that advancing your career is a work in progress. As you grow within your profession, your development plan should reflect where you are in your career. 

Remember to update your development plan as you go. 

Distance Learning Courses 

Distance Learning is a method of remote study. Students do not sit in classrooms with classmates and lecturers, instead, they will study independently

You get to choose where you want to study and when to do so. This form of study is not only cost-effective but also extremely convenient for various reasons. For more details on its benefits, read here. 


Where can I study?

There are distance learning colleges all over South Africa. 

Bellview Institute is an accredited distance learning college that allows you to develop your career from the comfort of your home and at your own pace. 

We are dedicated to helping our students get qualified and move forward in their dream careers.

Develop your career today, here’s how to get in contact with us:

  • Give us a call on our toll-free number 0800 39 00 27
  • Fill out our contact form at the bottom of the page
  • Chat to us on Whatsapp 082 318 8892


Author: Layla Theunissen 

Last Updated: 09/12/20

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