A personal development plan is a writing exercise through which you structure and organise both your long-term and short-term plans and ambitions.
Within this highly personalised future plan you analyse your own skillset and put it to use to achieve your ambitions. This exercise ensures that you have a clear understanding of your own capabilities and how best to harness them to reach your goals.
Whether you’re studying to be a business leader, artist or scientist, a personal development plan will enable you to work towards your future goals.
At London Metropolitan University our staff are on hand to support and guide you in creating your professional development plan, which will equip you to excel in your chosen field.
Why you should create a personal development plan
Having a hard time figuring out what you want to do in the long term? You’re by no means alone. Usually this confusion stems from not having a clear and organised plan, which can prevent you from understanding what skills you have. Cue the personal development plan, whose purpose is to map out even your more complex goals.
A personal development plan is a fundamental first step towards achieving your most ambitious aims. If approached correctly, with passion and honesty, this simple piece of planning could prove an invaluable tool for years to come. Once you set realistic, incremental goals and targets you’ll see that achieving your aspirations is in easier reach than you expected.
At London Met, we believe that it’s extremely important that you distinguish and acknowledge your own strengths and weaknesses whilst understanding and applying your skills and your experiences. That’s why you’ll find plenty of resources and advice available every step of the way – our student liaison team is on hand to help you succeed in your studies...
How to write a personal development plan
There are several different areas that are important to focus on when creating your very own personal development plan:
Ambitions and dreams
Establishing your ambitions and dreams is the most exciting way for you to start your plan as it will serve as the perfect motivation for completing the sections that follow. Ask yourself: what is it that I want to do, to achieve or to be? You should aim high, give as much detail as you can and don’t be embarrassed by what you want for your future self. In the next steps, you will have plenty of time to be “realistic”, and in doing so you’ll learn how to adapt your goals to your own abilities. You should be honest with yourself about what you want and always aim high with your ambitions.
Skills and capabilities
The next step is to understand your own skills and capabilities. This is where you will look at your achievements, abilities and expertise. Ask yourself which areas of your life, education, or work you have excelled at. What do you feel you can do better than others, or in such a way that grabs the attention of others? This might be something you would until now consider unimportant, such as the ability to type quickly or draw caricatures. These skills can actually be the most important of all, so add as many as you can.
If you find this exercise a struggle and begin to feel that you have no skills or capabilities that are relevant, try sitting down with a family member or a friend and ask them honestly what they think you’re good at – you’d be surprised at just how many things they’ll be able to think of!
After putting all of your skills in one place, you’ll begin to see a framework of the unique skills that you have. This may be the first time you have seen your own skillset with clarity, and this should allow you to refine your understanding of which areas you are best suited to.
Strengths and weaknesses
Analysing your strengths and weaknesses can be a difficult section to complete when creating a personal development plan. To understand your strengths and weaknesses, you will need to be honest with yourself in a way that can be mildly uncomfortable for some people. However, it’s important to remember that this willingness to reflect on yourself in an honest manner is a very important trait shared by everyone who has achieved success in any field.
By addressing your weaknesses head on, you can learn from them, make improvements and be aware of where problem areas may arise in future projects or ideas. Everyone has weaknesses, but successful people will use their knowledge of them to their advantage, by delegating these areas to others with different strengths, or by recognising that they will need to allocate additional time to their weaker areas.
If you struggle in addressing your strengths and weaknesses when writing your personal development plan, we would give the previous advice again and suggest you discuss it with someone you know and trust.
Goals and timelines
Now that you have an accurate understanding of what you are really capable of, it’s time to reconsider where you want to get to and decide how you’re going to get there. At this point you will create your goals and timelines, from which you will have a roadmap for your ambitions in the years to come.
No matter where you’d like to be five years from now, break down exactly what you need to achieve each year to reach that place. Be as exact and realistic as you can. These can be larger and more ambitious achievements, such as graduating with at least a 2.1, networking with people working in your field, learning a skill you don’t already possess or getting work experience in a particular sector.
At this point, you’ll need to concentrate on a timeline of years, aiming to define what you’ll need to do and over what timescale in order for your goals to be realistically achieved. Always remember that your personal development plan is not a completely rigid process – it’s a way of shaping your own guidelines as you head towards your personal and career goals.
The process of doing this and getting into the habit of this kind of structured thinking is one of the greatest lessons you can learn in terms of improving your future. At London Met we are proud to offer you comprehensive and ongoing support in creating your own personal and career development plan.
What our students say
Furniture Design BA
"For the V&A I designed some furniture for homeless people out of the V&A's old packing crates that ship artwork all over the world... The lecturers at London Met really helped us find these opportunities and put us in touch with the right people."
Public Administration MA (MPA)
"While I was reviewing different universities’ public administration courses, London Met's work placement module particularly attracted my attention."
Woman and Child Abuse MA
"Having the privilege to be granted a scholarship from Chevening was and is still a turning point in my life."
Advertising and Marketing Communications BA
"The training that I received at London Met gave me the confidence to be a co-founder of Cultural Signatures. To have the academic support from the University behind me whilst doing this has been invaluable."
Data Analytics MBA
"I have really enjoyed the cohort size, as it allows for great discussion between students. I have also found my professors to be very accessible, and it is great how much interaction you get with the tutor."
Marketing and Public Relations BA
"The commercial preparation received at London Met has played an important role allowing me to absorb information quickly and focus my efforts on making the right decisions rather than having to understand processes."
Human Resource and Employment Management MA
"My CIPD qualification (the HR professional body) on the course has also boosted my professionalism; I feel more confident to work with my suppliers, business partners and clients."
Master of Business Administration (MBA) (Cybersecurity)
"The module leaders are very inspiring"
Master of Business Administration – MBA
"The University presented a wide variety of programme choices and brilliant teachers to learn from. The education I received at London Met helped me understand modern-day consumers, their needs and evolving behaviour as well as changing business models."
Computing BSc (Hons)
"I am happy to have chosen London Met, not just for the facilities but for the people, because London Met is a place where people matter."
Syed Enam Ahammad
Legal Practice Course – PG Dip, Law with International Relations – LLB (Hons)
"During my course, I visited the Local Authority’s offices and town hall, The House of Commons and The House of Lords..."
Master of Public Administration
"My scholarship changed my life and gave me a new start. All the things I dreamed of achieving have now become more reachable and accessible."
Woman and Child Abuse MSc
"I was already working as a domestic violence practitioner, but since undertaking the master's I have been promoted to a senior management role – I have no doubt that my studies have been instrumental in this promotion."
Food Science MSc
"A golden opportunity to contribute my own quota in making the world a better place".
Sports Science and Physical Education BSc, Sports Therapy MSc
“The best part about London Met is the opportunity for work experience”
Digital Media MA
"Being in London makes me feel that if you can achieve something here, then you will be able to achieve it anywhere in the world."
Business Computer Systems (Top Up) BSc (Hons)
"I left all my friends behind in Iraq but London Met made me feel comfortable in no time."
"There is a significant amount of help and support for the students and I totally recommend London Met."
Accounting and Finance graduate BA (Hons)
"There were many amazing moments at London Met that I won’t forget, but the main highlight was that my course prepared me for the world of work."
Biomedical Science – BSc (Hons)
"I’m really really glad I came here for the people that I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had."
International Relations BA (Hons)
"London Met gives you a platform to shine. The sky is the limit..."
Fine Art BA, Fine Art (Painting) MA
"The workshops are like playgrounds for adults. The technicians and the school keepers are very friendly, and they really go out of their way to help out. Also at The School of Art, Architecture and Design you get your own studio even if you are part-time, on both the BA and MA."
Digital Forensics and Cyber Security BSc (Hons)
"I’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities so far, that I otherwise would not have had if I hadn’t been at London Met, such as attending competitions, getting involved in real projects and being appointed a Success Coach."
MSc in Public Health
"Coming from the US to the UK might seem like the biggest culture shock, but it was actually a smooth transition for me! If anyone is feeling doubtful about moving over here, London is such a lively city with so much to do. You will definitely find your niche."
LLB Law – Hons
"Exams here are not about memorising information, but about being able to answer to the point, as a barrister would do in court."
Teresa Gomes Arrulo
Psychology BSc (Hons)
"Studying Psychology strongly developed my critical thinking skills, which now encourages me to continuously challenge existent ideas and theories."
Human Resource Management MA
"I support managers in leading and developing their teams, support staff in being effective in their work, and advise on policies and procedures."
Business Information Technology (prize winner) BSc
"I was the final-year project leader which led my team to get a good grade."
Furniture Design MA
"I had access to all sorts of equipment. One month I would be milling wood, the next I would be laser cutting, using spray booths or computer modelling for 3D printing. The facilities were world class."
Health and Social Care BSc (Hons)
"The amount of constructive feedback, the lecturers' dedication to help me succeed and the amount of support we get is is beyond what I expected."
Computer Networking BSc
"Studying at London Met helped gain me the skills, knowledge and the courage to pursue a career in IT."
Airline, Airport and Aviation Management BSc (Hons)
"We get many opportunities to go on course field trips and visit major airports and airline companies nationally and internationally"
Youth Studies BSc (Hons)
"I can’t wait to graduate, I will be the first in my family – it has been a long journey especially for me... A massive thanks to all the staff and this University."
Mathematics (including foundation year) BSc (Hons)
"I felt bored sitting at home after retirement. I decided it would be a good thing to refresh my brain by coming back to school l and studying something new."
International Marketing Communications MA
"Accelerator was very useful because it allowed me to shape my idea and put it into practice. If I hadn’t applied for the Accelerator programme I wouldn’t have done what I did."
Pharmaceutical Science BSc (Hons)
"It’s great to learn about the endless opportunities that I can pursue after studying this course at London Met"
MA Woman and Child Abuse
"My scholarship has provided me with opportunities I never expected."
Jewellery BA (Hons)
"I feel very honoured, as my years of training, learning and discovering at the School of Art, Architecture and Design were some of the best, and I am incredibly proud to be an alumna of the School!"
Journalism BA (Hons)
"London Met helped prepare me for a career in the media industry. After graduating I felt confident with all the skills I had learned over the years in my journalism course to break into the industry and here I am!"
Applied Psychology MSc
"Social Psychology is my favourite module. It helps me understand different social aspects of human behaviour in different life situations."
Lord Bilimoria, CBE, DL
“I was fortunate to have studied Law at Cambridge and then Accountancy at London Metropolitan University, which has always stood out as an institution that gives an outstanding education to people regardless of their background.”
Pharmaceutical Science MSc
"Coming from Ghana straight to London and being the first time away from Africa, this experience has been so eye-opening for me."
Common Professional Exam (CPE)
"The moment I learnt about the possibility of mooting at London Met, I wanted to take part in it. Partly because it is – in some ways – similar to performing on stage, but mostly because I knew I wanted to be a barrister and mooting is an invaluable practice for future advocacy."
Conference Interpreting MA
"I like what the city stands for in terms of diversity, history and cultural and gastronomic richness. In addition, the UK is a hub of educational excellence."
Brian Mzana Mthimkhulu
Sociology BSc (Hons)
"The degree has been most useful in my work as researcher and speech writer in the Ministry of Labour and as a newspaper columnist."
Biomedical Science MSc
"Moving here has changed the way I look at life and has changed my mindset... I love being able to learn what I love in a new country and meeting great friends along the way."
Journalism BA (Hons)
"Over the three years, I learnt everything there is to know about journalism. Not just how to write, but other invaluable skills such as presenting, editing, how to use designing software, media law and interview skills."
"The Library is the best part of the University and is where I have spent my most precious time since being in London."
"They have a lot of support in place to help students to achieve their best."
Early Childhood Studies (BA)
"Working in early years means you are there to make the difference at the foundation of children’s lives, which is an enormous opportunity."
Interior Architecture and Design BA
"If you know what degree you want to study, then definitely go to the UK; it’s more affordable, it takes less time and you don’t have to take general classes as it’s very specific to what you want to study."
"The course itself really helped me and it helped me secure my role today."
Sports Therapy BSc
"I now have experience of working with physios in such diverse sporting fields as rugby, football, American football and roller derby as well as spending time overseas."
Event Management and Public Relations BA (Hons)
"London Met has lecturers who have been where you want to be, and who have the experience and knowledge to share with you and help you grow."
"London Met has one advantage that most other universities do not have, and that is the preparatory foundation year."
MBA graduate, News Anchor for Russia Today.
"My London Met experience is truly unforgettable as I studied a variety of useful subjects and most importantly met a lot of interesting people, from very diverse cultural backgrounds."
Master of Business Administration – MBA
"Although I have always had entrepreneurial ideas, being at university and undertaking this course pushed me towards my goal."
Education Studies BA (Hons)
"I’m grateful that the University took me in and gave me opportunities."
International Foundation Programme, Forensic Science BSc
"Coming to the UK was the biggest step I have taken in my life and it has really exposed me to loads of things. It has made me realise that the world is so huge and full of many different people, races, cultures and ways of living."
Business Management BA
"The best thing about studying at London Met is the opportunity to focus on many different areas during the course."
Airline, Airport and Aviation Management BSc (Hons)
"I don't believe I would have been able to get here without the support of the London Met family."
Elly Yahui Zhang
Conference Interpreting - MA
Receiving my scholarship was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
"I will be pursuing a project on Martian exploration and astrobiology in general at NASA."
Human Resource Management MA
"The lecturers are incredibly supportive and their expertise in their respective fields is clearly evident."
Fine Art BA (Hons)
"I took so much from my time at London Met; the lecturers are incredibly engaged, the weeks are very focused and the studio sizes are fantastic."
Investment and Marketing
"It became very obvious to me that the University has some exceptionally great lecturers who genuinely go out of their way to advance the skills and knowledge of their students because they want to..."
Fine Art BA
"Integration is one of the most palpable characteristics of this University. I never felt in any way different being a mature student."
Sports and Dance Therapy - BSc (Hons)
"Passing the first-year massage exam immediately gives students on this course a qualification to work as sports masseur. As a consequence, I could start my work-experience hours at the beginning of the second year."
Performing Arts BA
"My friendships made at London Met were the best. I got married last year and a few of my friends and my teachers came to my wedding."
Music Industry Management BA
"Working as an ambassador for London Met has so far involved working at many of its great open events by representing the university to prospective students. It’s a great job and I would recommend it to anyone looking to join London Met."
"I continue to benefit from these experiences in the multicultural and diverse markets I deal with on a daily basis."
Journalism BA (Hons)
"Both of my journalism professors have worked at massive and reputable media sources such as The Guardian. They also ran successful blogs, acting as role models for me to start my own."
Sports Therapy BSc
"London Met has its own clinic in which we all got to treat clients. I also volunteered for Cancer Research through the University at the London Marathon, which was an amazing experience."
Primary Education (two-year accelerated degree) BA (Hons)
"My lecturers and module tutors have had the most impact on my development."