This is Not Your Mother’s Career Path: 7 Tips to Develop a Credible IDP

It is the first of November, and some of us are diving into the fiscal year tradition of writing your  individual development plan (IDP) phase – phase two. Phase one included management’s review of your of your initial drafts and now you are finalizing details on what you really want out of your career.

Everyone will try to share insight — including your mom — on how to plan your professional development. This is a good opportunity to listen with a grain of salt and then make decisions based on your actual career goals, not the goals that someone has suggested you follow. You may be seeking a promotion or simply a “rookie fed” trying to find her way in government. Also, remember that people rarely stay with the same federal agency for 30 to 40 years only to retire and ride off into the sunset. Time are changing.

Those days for the most part are over due to a fluctuating economy, continuing resolutions, reorganized structures as well as “right-sizing” agency offices under the guise that efficiency will occur in the end. Feds, especially women, can take a more proactive approach to their jobs by letting go of the perception that every job will last for lifetime as in bygone eras.

Top 7 Tips to Develop a Credible IDP:

  1. Identify the type of work that you are passionate about
  2. Document your career progression using an IDP to map your progress for 2 to 5 years
  3. Leverage new workplace skills by using business acumen books as part of your professional development
  4. Seek leadership training opportunities such as the OPM Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program
  5. Sign up for a detail assignment that is outside the scope of your current talents
  6. Share your ideas with a mentor and seek guidance on diverse training programs
  7. Consider the possibly of changing careers if the one you have does not readily meet your professional and personal needs

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