Is CPD a necessary evil or could it improve your chances of getting a better job?

CPD or Continuing Professional Development, is one of those ‘buzzword’ phrases that gets plenty of mentions, but whose meaning can sometimes become blurred in a busy working environment. Isn’t it enough that you’re capable of doing your job sufficiently with the skills set you already have? Why should you spend time learning more stuff that may actually complicate your life or even, horror of horrors, lead to more responsibility?

Well, if you want to take your career seriously, CPD should be at the top of your ‘to do’ list, every day. For those in certain professions, CPD is mandatory if you are registered as a member in practice or a fellow member. But even if you don’t have to do CPD, you could be missing out on the chances of furthering your career if you regard it as merely a burden on your already overtaxed working day.

What exactly is CPD?

CPD is all about identifying your career ‘weak spots’ and actively doing something to strengthen those weaknesses. It is about taking control of your career and developing new skills that could potentially take you off in a completely new direction, or advance you in your ‘five year plan’ to a position of greater responsibility, greater achievement and greater control. It is about building on the foundations you already have and extending those to encompass new areas of expertise.

For companies, CPD gives them the opportunity to maximise the efficiency of their workforce. It allows development in key areas that are important to the long-term vision and success of the organisation and for operatives within the organisation to carry out their role effectively. Is there nothing CPD can’t achieve?

Before you sign up…

CPD has to be targeted. The main principles behind CPD are that it should be relevant to your individual needs and professional role and result in a specific outcome – namely, you should be able to identify what you have learnt and how it fits into your key role. For those involved in certain industries such as the legal and medical professions, it should also lead to an advanced qualification in a specific field. For example, if your practice is planning to move into the personal injury field, CPD will be mandatory and will ensure that you become a respected and certified organisation that has a clear understanding of the topic. This will increase your business opportunities and reinforce that all-important client trust bond.

So before you propose a programme of CPD within your organisation, think carefully about two key areas:

The answer to these two questions will determine what kind of CPD you take on and how far you are willing to go with it. You may feel that some CPD is a necessary evil that you need to comply with to stay in your job – a means to an end. But worthwhile and relevant CPD will not be a chore but an enhancement that could give your career a real boost and make you a much more desirable asset to any company’s payroll.

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