Creating a Professional Development Plan

by Mallory Robinson, Account Associate

In recent posts, we’ve shared different certification options, tips from IMI colleagues for obtaining the certifications, and resources for increasing your professional development. Now what?

Today we’re going to focus on creating a professional development plan to help you achieve the Certified Association Executive (CAE) or Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification.

First, consider the following questions to help you think about your professional goals and how to get to the certification finish line:

  1. What’s my goal? Pick a certification option and move on from there.
  2. When do I want to achieve the goal? Pick a realistic timeline. Thoughtfully review certification requirements and prerequisites.
  3. What do I need to do to get there? Determine how many continuing education credits you have, if any, and how many you need to reach your goal within the previously mentioned timeline.
  4. What is my education budget? Determine your education budget and research your options. Are there local or other events you can travel to for credits? What free webinars can you participate in to earn credit? It’s a double benefit if these programs provide insight you need anyway.

Using this information, you can create a plan that is unique to your professional development goals. As you earn credits, remember to track, track, track. Make your own tracking spreadsheet using GoogleSheets or another cloud option for easy updating at work or at home.

Remember, it’s okay if your plan changes. We’re all busy and have things come up in both our personal and professional lives. Reassess your plan on a regular basis to determine if it is still viable and adjust if necessary.

Finally, if obtaining one of these certifications seems daunting, try to create smaller goals leading to a larger goal. For example, make a monthly goal to get a certain number of credit hours, and take time to ready or study exam material.

To learn more about the certifications and the IMI employees who have them, read the CAE Spotlights about Linda Owens and Lee Claassen or read the CMP Spotlight about Kara Stachowiak.

Are you looking for a certified professional who can take your association to the next level? Contact IMI Association Executives! We’re a firm of skilled professionals who have provided professional management expertise to clients since 1986. Submit an RFP today!

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