The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Mapping Out a Plan for a Career in Higher Ed HR

map-300pxWhere are you on your higher ed HR career path? Perhaps you’re just starting out — maybe you’re in an entry-level position or in your first or second job out of college. Or maybe you’re several years in and working your way up the ranks. Perhaps you’ve recently moved to a new institution or taken on a new role with increasing responsibilities. Or maybe you’ve just entered the world of academia from the private sector and are still learning the ropes of this unique and multifaceted environment. Wherever you are in your journey, one thing’s for certain — it’ll be tough to get to where you want to eventually end up without a solid plan in place.

Individual development plans (IDPs) have been gaining traction in the work world as a way to help guide and inform next steps for those wishing to further their careers. An IDP can help you identify your strengths and pinpoint areas that might need improvement. It can help you flesh out your goals and aspirations and identify the best course of action to take to meet them. It can help you enhance your knowledge, skills and abilities and align these with your organization’s mission and goals. In short, an IDP serves as a roadmap for your career trajectory. And who better to steer the car than you?

“So where do I start?” you might be asking. By following the steps below, you can get a jumpstart on a solid higher ed HR IDP working document.

  1. Identify specific skills you’d like to acquire, develop or enhance – CUPA-HR’s Learning Framework, which outlines specific higher ed HR competencies in four topical areas, can help with this.
  2. Identify the gap between where you are and where you need to be with the skills you listed in Step 1.
  3. Identify actions you can take that will close the gap – coaching, mentoring, professional development, practice, e-learning, etc.
  4. Identify resources that will help you get to where you want to be – pinpoint a mentor, list specific classes you can take or books you can read, identify a stretch assignment you can take on, talk to your supervisor, etc.
  5. Set a goal timeline – this provides a level of accountability and can help you intentionally plan for development opportunities.

By putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and utilizing the IDP approach to career planning, you can help set yourself up for a successful career in higher ed HR.

For step-by-step guidance on how to create your higher ed HR IDP, including a template and other helpful resources, check out CUPA-HR’s  e-learning course, “Creating Your Individual Development Plan.”