Writing the Professional Development Plan

Time to get creative about your future!

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It basically spells out what you plan to do for your career and education in the next five years.

A lot of it will depend on the narrative you want to tell and your own interests. You can write about your intended career path, jobs you will be seeking, certifications and advanced degrees that you will work for, etc. You will have to outline in detail how you intend to accomplish this goal.

Again, it will depend on your personal narrative. I've included an outline of my FEP for anyone who needs a visual.

Introduction: Outlines my past experiences that led me to seeking an MLIS. It included the setbacks I had along the way and how I overcame them. I had a statement on what my Work Products will demonstrate to the FEP grading committee. I listed continuing education opportunities I have attended, continuing education opportunities I intend to attend, professional organizations I am a member of or will become a member of in the next five years, conferences I plan to attend, and journals I currently read and those I intend to read.

Not really. While I did already read some journals and other library-related periodicals, it wasn't like I read every article or issue. I was already a member of those organizations that I stated, though one I had joined just a week prior. The CE that I had attended was a mix of past events I had attended and webinars that I watched or never got around to watching.

No, but it's a good idea to include as much as possible, even if you haven't decided yet. Make it look like you really know what your next five years will be.

Fortunately, ACRL lists their webinars for free on Youtube after six months. I recommend watching a lot of those and including them. Also, think of any library-related event you may have gone to, whether it was a training session at work, free program attended, etc. Even if you can't afford to go to conferences or attend CE classes in the future, list them in your future plans anyway.

Neither do I, but I still pretended I did.

My actual next five years after graduation is probably search for a job, re-enroll in school to keep my student loans at bay, and hope nothing explodes. If I wrote that as my PDP, I'd never pass.

Basically, TWU's SLIS program has a real hard-on for professional and career development. You might have noticed already how many courses keep having assignments and final projects being less about library skills and more about library careers. I've had to write a Professional Development Plan once already in a course that had nothing to do with professional development. I wrote it realistically and I got a crappy grade on it because what my instructor wanted was if-everything-was-perfect-and-I'm-way-more-career-driven-than-I-actually-am.

I wrote it as if everything was perfect and I'm way more career-driven than I actually am.

I pretended that I didn't have to worry about money. I could go anywhere and do whatever I wanted with my career or education. So I wrote my PDP as if I could afford to move around to attend different schools and earn not just certification as an Archivist, but also a PhD.

Yes, but the FEP grading committee doesn't want realism that comes with honesty. If you are completely honest and realistic about the next five years, they will think you aren't being professional enough and will hold you back from graduating.

I have a list of CE Sources here.

I have a list of Library Journals here.

I have a list of Library Organizations here.

Get a helicopter pilot's license. Seriously. I want one way more than I'll ever want a PhD.