Your professional growth and development are important not just to you personally, but also to your future employer. When you interview, hiring managers will be interested in your existing skills and your plan for acquiring new skills.
Employers may phrase questions about your professional development like this:
- What are your weaknesses and how have you addressed them in the past?
- What are the most prominent trends impacting your field?
- What is your professional development plan for the next year?
- How do you stay current in your field?
- What new skills have you gained in the last year?
The Best Way to Answer
- Show that you are eager to learn, evolve and excel: Convey you are active in your own development, coachable and willing to take on new challenges.
- Indicate that you are aware of industry trends: Use specific examples from relevant articles you’ve read to illustrate your curiosity and tenacity. Let the hiring manager know you are enthusiastic to keep pace with changing technology.
- Illustrate your knowledge of the most in-demand skills for your career: Articulate your industry knowledge by outlining the skills you need for the next level.
- Demonstrate self-awareness: Show that you are cognizant of your weaknesses and that you are motivated to overcome them.
- Differentiate the areas of professional development: Leadership skills, interpersonal skills, decision-making skills, and critical thinking skills are all areas that you should address.
- Be specific: Discuss what you learned, how you learned it, how you have applied what you learned and the results.
Create Your Professional Development Plan of Action (if you don’t have one already):
- List Your Goals: This list might include a raise or a promotion.
- List Steps You Need to Take to Achieve Your Goals: Specify classes and qualifications.
- Make a Timeline: Decide how much time will be required and how to fit it into your available time.
An Example Answer:
“Continued learning and development are very important to me. I read the ______ news on a regular basis. Recently I attended ______ seminar and learned a new approach to ____ which I was able to easily implement last month. My professional development plan is becoming certified in _____. The course begins on x/x/20xx.”
Take your career to the next level with a professional development plan. Have a plan in place and be ready to elaborate on it at your next interview.
Kathy Lin, Marketing Communications Manager
Kathy writes content for Tal Healthcare, a healthcare career website. She has a background in recruiting, sales, and teaching. She holds a BA in Biology from the University of Vermont. When she isn’t writing you can find her outside running, skiing or biking.