CPD stands for continuous professional development. It is a process of self-directed learning whereby individuals record, document and reflect on their own skills and experiences. With CPD, you can take responsibility for your own career goals, and keep your actions aligned with your reflections.
What Is CPD?
CPD could be considered a mindset, but it is also a physical record or portfolio. An individual engaged with continuous process development tracks their progress and development using whatever means they prefer, and reflects on their own record regularly to learn and gain insights. These reflections can then be used to create new goals, and the process becomes a positive cycle of professional growth.
You should record both your formal learning, such as training and development taking place through your employer or on your own accord, as well as informal learning such as e-learning courses, transferable skills learnt on the job, and even life experiences that may be applicable to the workplace.
Why Is CPD Important?
Continuous professional development is an important step towards taking more control over your own career. It has advantages on both a personal and practical level, giving you confidence and helping you to refine your career, but also serving as a folder to hand to clients and employers.
For Personal/Professional Life:
- Reminds you of your professional achievements and how far you have progressed
- Helps you to define and focus on your career goals
- Identify gaps in your knowledge and skills, and address these gaps in order to advance your career
- Engage in a constant process of development that leads to you being more confident, happy in your professional life, and ultimately more employable
For Clients and Employers:
- Provide an overview of your professional achievements
- Serves as a useful resource for interviews and the creation of CVs
- Demonstrate your skills and capabilities to clients and employers
- Direct yourself towards possible career changes and advancements
How To Start Continual Professional Development
There is no set process for continual professional development, and each person is encouraged to find their own way to record and reflect on their experiences. However, it is important that your development is documented, so make sure you right down everything that is relevant to your professional life.
What To Include:
You should include all of your formal training and certifications in your CPD, including training given via your employer, and any courses or certifications you have undergone yourself.
You should also include all of your informal development, such as any learning from when you shadowed a colleague, from networking, coaching and mentoring, reading around your industry, any new responsibilities and roles you undertook, events and conferences that you attended, and even insights from major events or incidents, and from mistakes that you have made.
Basically anything that you would consider as part of your professional development should be written about and documented for your CPD folder, and reflections made around what you learned. When you are ready, follow the steps below:
- Think about where you are now. Reflect back on the past 6 months to year’s worth of professional development, and get up-to-date with your current position. Write about your learning experiences, reflections and outcomes.
- Think about where you want to be. Consider your short term goals of around 6 months to 2 years, as well as your long term goals of 5-10 years. Then create actionable objectives that you can achieve, complete with quantifiable outcomes, dates and milestones. Once you have outlined your goals, take action to move towards them!
- Review your CPD folder regularly to make the process ‘continuous’. Reflect on what you have achieved, what you still need to achieve, and whether your career direction has changed or needs to change. Set a date for regularly review, perhaps once every three months.
Courses Dojo’s learning portfolio will help you keep track of your training courses and qualifications as part of your continuous professional development. Keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date is one of the most effective way to ensure you are always learning, and always progressing towards a more promising future.