Written by Gail Madziar, MLA Executive Director   

Executive Director's Desk - January 11, 2018

Gail Madziar Headshot

It's Time to Update Your Professional Development Plan

A successful career takes time, effort and planning. The new year is a good time to review your professional development plan. Your blueprint should include a summary of your ambitions, objectives and goals. According to the global talent solutions company, Hudson, a career development plan is designed to outline your interests, values and skills, and to help you think about:

  • Where you are now, and where you want to be
  • Your likes, dislikes, passions, strengths, skills, experience and personality, and how closely they align with your chosen job
  • Your short-term and long-term career goals
  • Any skills, qualifications and experience you might still need to acquire
  • The current labor market, where the work is, and any other job requirements you might need to research.

Define your career goals and write out the steps needed to reach those goals. This way you can see how you are progressing. The 2018 Spring Institute work group is bringing in a career coach to the conference to help youth librarians identify their skills and how those skills transfer to a director or other position. They will receive feedback on how to articulate their experience in a way that highlights their abilities and strengths. This is valuable information at any career level.

Once you've defined your goals and identified the steps, determine your tactics. Do you need additional education, training or specialized instruction? Are you taking advantage of the many networking opportunities at MLA and other organizations?

Academic Libraries 2018 is focusing on how research can assist with collection development. It will also cover researching and writing skills. Research and publishing can be critical to academic career development and this is useful information that can be applied at many points in your library career.

With the multitude of instruction available you can take advantage of many delivery options and cost structures. Some topics can be effectively covered in a webinar. MLA will offer several topics this year on HR and privacy issues, budgeting and marketing. A number of MLA workshops including Fundraising Tips and Tricks, Hiring, Firing and Conflict Management and Homelessness in the Library are scheduled and can complement technical and soft skills training.

Take advantage of the resources offered on MLA's career development web pages. Prioritize your goals. Then think about developing a well-rounded professional development plan for this year. Include a wide variety of training, networking and education in the plan and review and revise as appropriate.

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