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PDP: Personal Development Plan Example & Explanation [SMART]

PDP: Personal Development Plan Example & Explanation [SMART]

What is a PDP – a Personal Development Plan – and how do you apply it? Here you will find an explanation, step-by-step plan and a completed example of a PDP, where ‘SMART’ has also been applied. Read along…

What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

Many omployers and college programs already teach students to make a PDP, but it is really something from the business world. A personal development plan (PDP) is a plan about your personal development that you make together with your employer.

So you can spend time and attention on your own learning process, while your employer facilitates you by giving you a business mentor and financial support.

Why a PDP?


After your training you are not done with learning: you will continue to develop during your career. Employers are happy to help you to do your job better and to continue to learn throughout your life. This is done by means of a PDP.

Thanks to a PDP you can think about your ambitions, take concrete steps to realize your ambitions and finally reflect on your progress. This allows you – in the context of your work – to learn to do your work even better.

The steps of the Personal Development Plan (PDP)

make a personal development plan

Below you will find a completed example of a personal development plan, including SMART goal . See the PDP plan below as your template. You do not need to download a pdf or doc because you can just use the paragraphs below.

Step 1 – Start with your name and date

Rubin Alaie, January 1, 20 …

Step 2 – Your main point of development: what skills do you have to learn?

What do I have to learn? What skills and / or competences do I have to develop? Preferably choose one most important development point.

I have to learn to work in a structured way. For this I have to learn to plan consistently. Making a weekly schedule and a daily schedule helps me increase my effectiveness at the office. That automatically also ensures that I can stay at the core of a task and not waste time with details.

Step 3 – Why do you want to develop this?

Why is it necessary to develop this? Briefly explain what goes wrong in the current situation and what the consequences are.

If I do not work in a structured way, I cannot optimally use my time and skills. Now it goes wrong that I sometimes get too little done or go into details that are not relevant to the main task. As a result, I am behind on the weekly schedule, I become more expensive for my employer and I give myself stress.

Step 4 – What will it benefit my environment if I start working on this goal?

What positive effects will there be if I successfully complete my PDP?

Working towards this goal has a direct impact on the effectiveness of my efforts, helping me achieve more results at work.

Step 5 – What intrinsic and extrinsic motivation do I have for my learning goal?

What intrinsic motivation do I have to work towards this goal?

I can create more added value with more structure. That is useful for my later career.

What extrinsic motivation do I have to work on this goal?

My supervisor expects a certain effectiveness.

Step 6 – What is the desired SMART result?

What is my goal?

Before February 1, 20 .. I have to finish tasks 20% faster. I do this concretely by making a schedule for every day and every week and by adhering to that schedule. On February 1, 20 .. I can look back on 15 weekly schedules, 75 day schedules and 20% fewer schedules that have been exceeded.

Step 7 – Where am I now?

Maybe I don’t have to start from scratch. That is why this question is very important.

At the moment I have exceeded an average of three daily plans per week.

Step 8 – From PDP to PAP: What concrete things will I do during my internship to develop my learning point?

Now you are going to make a PAP (Personal Action Plan). That is simple and concrete: what are you going to do every day?

I’m going to make a daily schedule for each day. In addition, I will always make a weekly schedule and stick to it.

Step 9 – What resources or support do I need from my business mentor?

I ask for feedback every week in the conversation with my business mentor and in between he is also free to give feedback when he sees an opportunity to do so. I bring my weekly schedule with me.

Step 10 – Signatures

Signature employee:

Company mentor’s signature:

Evaluation: after the time span of your PDP process you will reflect on it

doll-personal-development plan

After your PDP process you will reflect on how you have developed yourself. You also give yourself a score for your personal development and let your mentor give you a score for your personal development.

Is the goal completed?

I have achieved what I wanted to achieve. I have developed a habit of making a daily and weekly schedule and sticking to it myself. I’m proud that my structure discipline has gone through a stretch in this way. There are still many points where I have made little progress. See headings below.

How has this improved your effectiveness?

I have indeed achieved the goal because I now have schedules on my desk for every day and week. What I have now seen is that I have to put in a lot of effort to be effective. When the business mentor made my daily schedule, there was an external motivation to complete all items within the specified times. If I made the daily schedule myself, that was missing.

Grades for your personal development

Score to myself for my personal development:

Business mentor score for my personal development:

Literature about the personal development plan

The book ‘Competence Management – Personal Development Plan’ offers a practical guideline for drawing up a PDP. It is a well-organized book that you can quickly work through. Recommended if you want to work intensively with a PDP.

If you want more background information about the preparation and implementation of a PDP, then this extensive article about SMART goals is recommended. This article about the outcome model – which is incorporated in the PDP model – is also recommended.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!