Personal development plan template

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Creating a personal development plan template is a relatively straightforward process. By reflecting on what you are creating, you should be able to produce a plan to grow your talent.


What is a personal development plan?

A personal development plan or PDP is a way to record and monitor your learning needs and aspirations. Completing a PDP is a useful prompt to reflect on your personal and professional goals and to consider what skills or qualities you need to develop in order to reach those goals.

A PDP template will normally contain space to record your goals, an assessment of where you are now and what specific development activities you will undertake in order to move towards your goals. Development objectives should be broken down into manageable chunks, each with a clear measure of success.

A PDP form is most effective when it is revisited on regular basis. This will help you stay on track with your objectives, monitor how far you have progressed and make adjustments to ensure your plan stays relevant to your needs.

Personal development plan example

Reviewing a range of personal development plan examples can be useful when you are creating your own template. This is our take on the format of a good PDP:

  1. Set goals
    The first part of the template usually provides space to record your goals and the timescale that you have to complete them. ​Tip: Consider what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. You may be looking to secure a promotion, improve a specific skill or perhaps come up with a copying strategy for a task you don't do as well. Assign each goal a timescale and sort by order of priority. Remember to include a measure of success – how will you know when you have reached your goal?
  2. Establish the ‘learning gap'. 
    Detail the skills or expertise needed to achieve a goal that you currently lack or need to improve. The Thomas Personal Profile can provide insight into this, as well as your motivations which can be really helpful when trying to understand where you need to improve and what you need to focus less time doing. Also think about where you are now in relation to your goal. What are you really good at? Where do you think you need help? What might hold you back from reaching your goal? What feedback have you had from others in relation to the skills you need to meet your goal?
  3. Development tactics
    Next to each goal and the list of skills needed to meet it, detail the activities you will undertake to develop your expertise. Tip: Development activities can range from taking a formal class, to reading around the subject, or perhaps getting support from a more experienced colleague. There is no ‘correct’ way to develop your skills, but selecting activities you feel confident you can commit to will increase your chances of success.

Benefits of a personal development plan

A good PDP will help you turn ambitions and ideas into action. Having ongoing opportunities to learn is an important part of motivation. Not only does the process of development itself inspire people to perform but reaching development goals means they are better equipped than ever to contribute to the workplace.

Development is a win-win for employees and employers, so what are you waiting for? Get started on your PDP today.

Use the Thomas Personal Profile to help you create your Personal Development Plan Template now.