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Continuing professional development (CPD) Developing your career

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the learning and development you undertake that contributes to being effective in your profession.

So long as they add value to your work, quite a range of activities can contribute to your CPD. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) they could include

  • in-house or external training
  • study leading to a qualification, which may be vocational
  • conferences, workshops and seminars
  • membership of a planning group or committee
  • work-based research
  • reading professional magazines and journals
  • relevant hobbies, leisure activities and voluntary work.

Keep any evidence of your CPD, for example certificates from previous study or training. It's easy to overlook internal training, but make a note of how it changed your ability to do your work as it may prove vital when you apply for future jobs.

CPD not only helps you improve your knowledge, skills and competence in the workplace but also to achieve your career goals and contributes to your lifelong learning.

The CIPD provides useful guidance on organising your CPD, including questions to help reflect on your learning experiences, templates for recording CPD activity and a section on managing CPD while on a career break.

Personal development plan (PDP)

You can chart your CPD by using a personal development plan (PDP). Its value lies in helping you organise, record and evaluate your CPD. Update your PDP at least once a year, review what you've learnt, revise targets if necessary and set goals for the coming year. Use an action plan to help you. Make sure your plan is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

You may already do this planning as part of your appraisal or career development at work. Appraisals are increasingly being used to link performance to pay, and effective preparation using tools such as a PDP will help you to get the most benefit from them.

Last updated 6 months ago