CPD, or ‘continuing professional development’ is one of those things most of us have heard of in our professional careers, but never really seem to take on as often as we’d like to. A lot of us are responsible for our own professional development, and as such we don’t look into it properly, or at all. Read on to find out how CPD is actually more important than you think, and why you need to invest more of your own time into it.
You’re not the only person in the world doing the job that you do. Others in the same industry as you will be doing continuous professional development, and you’ll need to keep up with them. As more people become further advanced in their field, industry working standards start to rise when giving promotions, pay rises and general jobs. If you don’t have the sufficient training that a newcomer will likely have done, then your professional days may be numbered!
It makes you a proper professional
With the right training and ability, the service you’ll be delivering to clients, the community, customers or even other co-workers will improve as you gain more knowledge surrounding your field.
It gives YOU value
As they say, knowledge is power. In professional terms, this can be true. The more you know about your role, the business you work for and the practises it does will make you more valuable as an employee and a team member. If your company is thinking of making any job cuts and it’s between you and someone else who knows a little bit more than you about their job, then unfortunately it may be you who gets let go. Not only does CPD give you value within the company, but within your team too. If you know what you’re talking about in your job more than others, you’ll have more respect from your co-workers.
It’s personal too
CPD isn’t purely for the benefit of the company you work for; it’s as much personal development as it is professional. Certain CPD courses can increase your confidence and overall wellbeing. It can make you feel more valued and sometimes even inspire you to work harder in a company that at one point you may have considered leaving. You might find that you’ll push for targets that you never felt you had the knowledge to take on previously.
Because it’s quite personal, it’s always worth investing your own time and money into CPD if you can. That way, it’s not at the credit of your employer and you’re not tied into a six-month course whilst being at a company you want to move on from. Some training courses can go on a lot longer than expected!
Plan it out
It’s always better to take a planned approach to continuous professional development. If you have a goal of what type of job you’d like to have in the next three to five years, have a look at how you can get there and the timeframe allowances for this. Make sure to factor in time for saving up for a course if decide you want to fund it yourself. Is it part-time or full-time? Would your current employer be okay with you taking time out of the office for a course? Chances are if it’s relevant to the company and role you’re currently in and your employer doesn’t have to shell out a load of money to get you the qualification you need, they’re usually pretty flexible.
Gather research and advice – this takes time, but it’s worth it
Are you unsure of what particular CPD is best for you? Speak to your manager and/or colleagues in your team. They might be able to point you in the right direction. Have you looked at what courses your employer may be offering internally? Ask someone in HR if you’re still unsure. Take some time when you’re not in the office to research courses and training sessions. You can look at webinars, one-day training sessions, books and interactive presentations and videos.
It never ends
Continuing professional development is always, well – continuing! Whether you’re new to the whole ‘career thing’ or if you’re a more seasoned employee who’s been in a lot of different roles, CPD is always changing. You should be looking at the bigger picture of your industry. Is it starting to do most of its business online? Have a lot of things taken a digital turn to keep up with the times? Is your company looking to expand in another continent? Is there a possibility that you’ll need to learn a second language? It’s essential to look into skills that you may be required to have as well as professional qualifications and extra training sessions.
A lot of people despise training because it either takes them out of their comfort zone or takes them away from their desks. It’s always a good idea to undergo training just to shake up your routine. You never know, you might learn something you never thought would be beneficial!
With the right knowledge and understanding, you can become a really good mentor to your other colleagues and you’ll be able to contribute substantially to your field as a whole. Give it a go!