Developing Myself for My Next Role

Preparing for a career transition demands thoughtful consideration. Don't leave it to chance - follow the steps below to devise a development plan that will steer you towards your career aspirations. Keep in mind that your PDR serves as an excellent starting point for career discussions.

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To create your personal development plan, begin by assessing your current status using the SWIM method: Strengths, Weaknesses, Interests, and My Values.

  • Strengths: Refer to the selection criteria for your role, seek feedback from colleagues and managers, and reflect on previous PDRs to identify areas of strength and contribution.
  • Weaknesses: Pinpoint areas for improvement by recognising challenges and desired skill enhancements.
  • Interests: Compile a list of professional and personal inspirations to uncover motivational patterns.
  • My Values: Define your core values and consider their impact on your career trajectory.

Utilise Oxford’s Career Weaver for comprehensive exercises that help you explore your values, strengths, skills, and motivations at work.

Now that you've evaluated your strengths, it's time to explore your options. Follow these steps to broaden your horizons:

  1. Prioritise Your Goals:

    • Reflect on what you seek from your career now and in the coming years. Consider factors like personal fulfilment, challenges, reputation, and financial rewards.
  2. Explore Interesting Roles:

    • Begin by researching potential roles and gather job adverts that catch your interest. Save the role descriptions and selection criteria from these adverts. You can explore opportunities through:
    • If you're unsure where to start, seek guidance from a trusted confidant, your network, manager, or mentor.
    • Talk to people who know about the roles that interest you. Ask them what the role involves and the routes others have taken to get where they are.
  3. Conduct a Gap Analysis:

    • Compare your strengths and skills with the requirements of the roles you're considering. Identify any areas where you may need to enhance your skills.
    • Don't be discouraged by gaps. Consider your broad range of experiences, including previous roles and voluntary work, which may demonstrate your suitability for the role. Remember, meeting all essential criteria perfectly may not always be necessary. Sometimes, being good enough suffices. You can even utilise opportunities for learning and personal development as evidence of your motivation.

Drafting a detailed plan increases the likelihood of achieving your goal. Follow these steps when creating your plan:

  1. Define Your Career Objective: Select one of the identified options and outline your career goal.

  2. Reflect on Conversations: Consider discussions with critical friends, your manager, or mentor. Reflect on potential routes discussed to attain your goal, including:

    • Applying for vacancies or secondments.
    • Exploring informal secondment opportunities.
    • Taking on new responsibilities within your current role for essential experience.
    • Pursuing work shadowing opportunities to clarify your next steps.
    • Engaging in self-directed learning.
  3. Prioritise Pathways: Determine which of these avenues is most likely to propel you towards your goal.

Seek support to implement your plan effectively. Explore these options:


  • Utilise the Careers Service's guidance on Employability Skills and the skill exercises in Career Weaver to pinpoint development objectives and formulate a plan.
  • Seek assistance from a trusted confidant, your network, manager, or mentor to strategise the execution of your plan.

One-to-One Support:

  • Request to be paired with a volunteer coach to aid your thought process and planning.
  • Find your own mentor.

Programme Opportunities:

Many of us will spend more time in a year planning a holiday than we do planning our development.

Here are some tips to help you put your plan into action:

  • Take the First Step: Choose your initial action, set a timeline, and allocate dedicated time for it.

  • Monitor Progress: Schedule regular check-ins on your diary to track your advancement towards your goals.

  • Collaborate for Support: Some find it easier to prioritize tasks when done with others. Consider scheduling a meeting with a friend, colleague, or coach to review progress and plan next steps.

  • Reflect and Learn: Evaluate your experiences. Seek feedback on unsuccessful applications, interviews, or shadowing experiences. Identify changes within yourself. What strengths and resilience have you discovered?

  • Adjust Your Plan: Assess if your plan needs refinement. Are your career goals clear? Do you need to prolong your current role to enhance skills? Adapt your plan to ensure it aligns with your direction and aspirations.

  • Continuously Reassess: Regularly evaluate your progress. Adjust your career plan as you acquire new skills, expand your network, and increase your awareness.