Personal Development Planning (PDP) - A Guide for Busy Students
What is it?
PDP helps you get from where you are now to where you want to be in life and work. It's a process that can help you to develop your academic, employability and personal skills, using techniques that are widely practised in professional settings, such as:
- goal setting
- action planning
- self-assessment and
- reviewing your progress and performance.
Students at the University have used PDP techniques to help them in many ways, such as preparing for graduate recruitment and employment, to develop their essay writing skills and even to get fit enough to run a half-marathon!
Why do it?
Until recently, having a good degree would have been enough to secure a graduate-level job. In these increasingly competitive times, employers now expect to see evidence of a wider range of skills to convince them that you are the right person for their company. They also rate work experience very highly.
PDP is a very useful way to help you record all your achievements and experience and, most importantly, show what you have learned along the way. This provides a great resource for putting together strong applications and preparing for interviews. When you begin your graduate employment you will also be expected to set targets and report on your progress towards them, demonstrating your professional development, so it's a good idea to start working with these techniques now.
How do I get started?
We recommend that you begin by working through the PDP Self-Directed Learning Package that is available on the University's Portal, MyBristol, for which you will need your UoB username and password. This provides a step-by-step introduction to the fundamentals of PDP, with a set of forms and questions to help you structure your thoughts.
When you have worked through the package try to find a way of developing your goal setting and reflective skills, establishing some good habits. Remember that there is no one set method for using PDP - the trick is to work out what works best for you, as you will be more likely to stick with it. You could try:
- Starting a portfolio (paper-based or electronic) collecting evidence of your learning and professional skills development
- Keeping a diary or a blog
- Writing down your reflections on significant events, like giving a presentation in a seminar, or a practice interview. Ask yourself: what went well/not so well? What will I do differently next time? What will I do to make some improvements?
- Talk to friends and family, or your personal tutor.
Resources and courses
As well as the PDP package on MyBristol, you may find the following useful:
- Stella Cottrell's excellent guide to PDP, Skills for Success, is available in the Information Centre at the Careers Service
- You can download PDP Made Easy, a short guide produced by the University
- Look out for PDP and coaching skills workshops available at the Careers Service on our Careers Events pages
- Keep an eye on the Student Skills web site for all the skills development courses you can attend while you are studying here.