The beginning of the year is an excellent time to take stock of your department’s work, as well as of your career as a learning and development professional. Just as you need to document your department’s accomplishments, you must examine your contributions and document them. We can easily get carried away with the demands of our internal clients. Consequently, we tend to forget that we need to develop ourselves before we can develop others.
As you reflect on the information that you are being asked to provide to document the learning and development department’s accomplishments for 2015, ask yourself the following questions:
As you review your job description and your objectives, you should be able to see how your role contributes to the department and, in turn, the organization. Any disconnects need to be addressed and corrected quickly. Schedule a meeting with your manager or supervisor to clarify those connections and take appropriate corrective actions. By doing so, your career and the organization will benefit.
Assess your work over the course of the year. How did you contribute to the department’s success? Which actions did you take? Make sure that you use strong action verbs in past tense to describe those actions and that you include any quantitative measures that you have available. For example, instead of saying: “Conducted trainings on consultative sales”, you may consider: “Facilitated 15 sessions of consultative sales training for 225 sales representatives from x, y, and z departments that resulted in an average increase in closed sales of 10 percent.” Remember that the organization’s leaders see the world in terms of numbers.
Most of us have some idea of what we would like to do in the future. Some of us are very pleased with where we are and would like to continue doing what we do for a long time. However, many are interested in exploring other areas within learning and development or in other functions.
Knowing which way you would like to take your career is the most important step towards getting there. Once you identify the role that you would like to have in the future, you need to find out its requirements so that you can take a critical look at your strengths and weaknesses relative to that potential new role. We tend to be good at what we like to do and not so great at what we do not like to do, so those achievements will shed light on your strengths.
Your development plan is an excellent tool to guide your preparation for that next role or perhaps to reinforce your competencies in your current role. Review it and propose any changes to your manager or supervisor when you discuss last year’s achievements and the department’s plans for the coming year, as well as your own career goals. What about volunteering for a special assignment? Any possibilities of shadowing a more experienced facilitator? Perhaps you can work in the administration of the employee engagement survey or research best practices for the organization’s succession planning process.
Finally, look at your profile or resumé. Did you include your most recent achievements and recognitions? Does it present an accurate picture of where you have been and of your value to the organization? Does it grab the attention of whoever may be looking for someone with your experience for that new role that you identified?
Maintaining an up-to-date resumé is a worthwhile endeavor because it is a way to present your contributions to the organization. It also demonstrates that you care about your career enough to invest time in preparing such a document.
Remember: Taking care of your career is also taking care of the business.