Professional development is important, to help us in our current job and ensure we meet our clients needs and demands. But we also want to keep an eye on the future and any career goals we may have.

In some professions, CPD is mandatory. For example  as a psychologist I need to do a minimum of 40 hours and I need to keep detailed records. I can’t just say that I went to a conference or read a book but need to reflect on what I learn. It’s possible to ‘play the game’ and just tick boxes but I personally believe learning should be something that we want to do.
Last week I lead a session at the Institute of Career Guidance on this topic. With organisations cutting back on staff development we need to think of low cost and free ways for CPD. Let’s look at some of the options


This can include reading books and articles, reading professional journals, visiting websites and blogs. It can be worthwhile reviewing material from courses you have completed in the past. For me to go back to psychology text books will remind me of things I already know, and revisiting material with the benefit of practical experience can result in even deeper learning.
Look on your book shelves, choose a book to help with your professional development? What will you read. If you don’t have anything relevant can you borrow something from a colleague?

Webinars/ Tele-seminars/ Tele summits

Search the net and there are lots of free webinars, and some of them are interesting. Of course nothing is free and you are giving up your time. Remember too that these should contain valuable content but will still have a sales pitch.
Why not start searching the net for details of free seminars?

Free events

I learn about free events through my professional bodies and there are options for free attendance at conferences, free workshops from psychometric training companies. Through the Institute of Career Guidance over the past month I’ve had an option to attend a conference on  Careers In Sport & Exercise and The Skills Show at the NEC this coming weekend.
Why not find out what’s available to you?

Reflective thinking and journal writing

This systematic reflection on practice is highly recommended.  After an event or piece of work you can ask yourself

  • What have I learnt?
  • How has this helped me to develop?
  • How has this helped my professional practice?
  • What will be the impact on my clients?

 Reflection can also be useful before we approach a task. We can consider different options rather than going into a situation and doing it the same way as always.
Why not start being more reflective on what you read and learn.  You can also reflect on how you work.

Research and write

If you enjoy writing you can research to create an article or book. You could write an article for your professional association, staff magazine, or a guest post on a blog.
If you would like to write, who could you write for and what topic?

Professional supervision / Mentoring

A great way of learning is through a mentoring arrangement or supervision. It’s a chance to get a different perspective on the way you work. Depending on your experience you can also be a mentor to someone else.
Would it help you to have a mentor? Is there someone in your organisation you could approach, if not who else could help you?

Reading Circles

These are like a book club. A group could all read and then discuss a professional or business book. You could do this in person or set up an online group, perhaps a closed LinkedIn group?
Why not talk with people you know to set one up, or organise one through a LinkedIn group?

Action Learning Sets

I’ve written a previous blog post all about this.

Committee work

We can learn a lot through involvement on a committee, from learning how to work effectively with people from a different organisation, and learning more about different approaches.
Next time a professional body or a voluntary organisation seeks out committee members why not say yes, or you could be proactive and volunteer?
Plenty to get on with, what will you do?  I’d love to learn how you get on, so please make a note or ask a question below.
Denise Taylor is a double award winning career coach and Chartered Psychologist with Amazing People, established in 1998. When you are unsure of your career future, need help with job search or seek to improve your presence in an online world, Denise can help. Denise is the author of 7 books including How To Get A Job In A Recession, Now You’ve Been Shortlisted and Fat to Fantastic
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Published On: November 14th, 2012 / Categories: Career Management /

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