What is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development or, CPD, refers to any career development activities which develop your professional skills, knowledge or experience. CPD is important because it ensures you maintain your competencies throughout your career.
CPD activities can be formal or informal and gained either on the job or outside your work environment. It’s a good idea to keep track of your CPD by recording and reflecting upon the resulting learning and development after each activity.
Advantages of CPD
There are many advantages of continuing professional development not just professionally, but personally too. When we are competent in what we do, our confidence is boosted, we perform better, and our job satisfaction and sense of fulfillment is likely to be boosted. Here’s a list of other advantages resulting from CPD:
- Ensures that your skills remain up to date and relevant
- Helps you maintain and develop the knowledge and skills needed to do your job effectively
- Keeps you up-to-date with the current standards and best practice in your field of expertise
- Helps you be more effective in your role leading to higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity and professionalism
- Facilitates career progression by ensuring you are constantly learning and developing
- Enables you to identify further areas for growth and development
- Helps you remain connected to the objectives of your job role
Why you should document your CPD
Documenting your CPD is important for many reasons including:
- Gaining recognition for professional development which can support your career progression
- Helps you keep track of how your career is progressing and identify where you’d like to develop further
- Evidences your competencies which can be helpful for salary reviews and promotion
- Documents your activities making it easy to meet professional association CPD requirements
- Provides details for CV development, job applications and interviews
Example CPD Activities
There are loads of activities you can incorporate into your CPD planning. From attending courses, reading industry magazines or journals to coaching and mentoring. Be guided by your individual development goals but be sure to include a wide range of CPD activities to build rich CPD log. Here’s just a few ideas of CPD activities to consider:
- Attendance at courses, workshops, seminars and webinars
- Conferences, talks, professional networking events
- Job shadowing and observation of colleagues in the workplace
- Coaching, mentoring and professional supervision
- Acting/covering another role in the organisation
- Learning new duties and assisting colleagues in other roles or teams
- Participating in activities that promote skills development such as delivering a presentation or hosting an event
- Contributing to a professional publication, knowledge sharing (e.g. mentoring/coaching others, writing a blog)
- Reading or researching to gain insight or knowledge on a particular topic
- Self-reflection on growth and development in response to incidents, change or other events
How should I record and manage my CPD?
It’s advisable to update and review your CPD record every 3-6 months to ensure you are meeting your career objectives. Most employers and professional associations will provide you with a CPD learning log to record your development activities.
If you don’t have access to a learning log, your can easily create your own. Simply set up a table in word processing package such as MS Word or Excel table headed with the following columns: CPD activity, Date, Type, Details, Learning outcomes. You should also keep any evidence documents digitally in a computer folder or in a physical folder for later reference.