What does CPD mean?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond any initial training. It's a record of what you experience, learn and then apply. The term is generally used to mean a physical folder or portfolio documenting your development as a professional. Some organisations use it to mean a training or development plan, which I would argue is not strictly accurate. This article is about CPD as a process of recording and reflecting on learning and development.
What is it for?
The CPD process helps you manage your own development on an ongoing basis. It's function is to help you record, review and reflect on what you learn. It's not a tick-box document recording the training you have completed. It's broader than that.
What will it do for you?
A CPD may be a requirement of membership of a professional body. It can help you to reflect, review and document your learning and to develop and update your professional knowledge and skills. It is also very useful to:
- provides an overview of your professional development to date
- reminds you of your achievements and how far you've progressed
- directs your career and helps you keep your eye on your goals
- uncovers gaps in your skills and capabilities
- Opens up further development needs
- provides examples and scenarios for a CV or interview
- demonstrates your professional standing to clients and employers
- helps you with your career development or a possible career change.