myIDP (Individual Development Plan) & How to Use it


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A few posts ago I mentioned getting organized, developing a plan and achieving goals. Click here if you need help setting time aside for your goals. Click here if you want to reevaluate some of your goals or make a change. Now, that you have these ideas flowing in your mind I am ready to share today’s post with you.

When I began blogging a post by the ScienceMentor caught my attention. The post was about a plan from Science Careers called myIDP. If you are not familiar with myIDP I suggest reading the ScienceMentor’s post and checking out the Science Careers page to learn more about it.

After learning more about using the myIDP tool I was ready to start, but nervous at the same time. I knew that using the myIDP tool was something I wanted to use and I wanted to share how I have been using the myIDP tool. If you want to create a myIDP account click here.

When you create a myIDP account it suggests that you create your goals using the ‘SMART’ Principle. Some of us may have heard of this during undergraduate. If not here it is:

SMART Goals Are:

S – Specific 

M – Measurable

A – Action-Oriented

R – Realistic

T – Time-bound

When you create SMART goals you are more likely to achieve them with little procrastination. This is a good way to see if you are really doing the steps it takes to achieve your goals.  Many of us have to juggle important tasks and have multiple deadlines so why not treat our goals the same way we treat important deadlines we cannot change?

One of the ways you can keep track of deadlines is using multiple calendar reminders on paper, on your cell phone, and computer. Now, you have no excuse to miss a deadline. Also, give yourself room in case something comes up. Don’t beat yourself over it. Sometimes you need to revise your plan. Another way to stay on track is to create weekly and monthly check-ins to analyze the entire list of goals you created. Once you do this a couple of times it will become easier to achieve your goals.

Most of us have many things that we want to achieve in our career. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming. You may decide to use myIDP tool in one sitting, but I believe you will be happier working on it over a span of a few weeks. Here’s what I did: 

myIDP 4 Week Breakdown:

1. Brainstorm: Use The Power Hour to get ready for myIDP (Week 1: daily).

Most of us are brainstorming now and do this daily so this should be simple. Write down every goal no matter how big or small because you do not want to miss anything. You can prioritize your goals in the next steps.

2. Complete the myIDP Assessments: Skills, Interests, and Values (Week 2: 1-2 hours and start Step 3).

When you are completing the assessment make sure you have enough time and are honest with yourself. Sometimes self-assessment is difficult, but it is something we have to do. If you are comfortable ask a mentor that you trust to assess you. This is a good way to get insight on things that you need to improve.

3. Review the Career Exploration Section (Week 3: 1-2 weeks).

After completing the assessment you should now have an idea about your strengths, weakness, goals, and ideas about moving forward. Take your time and take a break if you needed to explore career options. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. There are many types of STEM careers out there for you!

4. Set Goals: Career Advancement Goals, Skill Goals, and Project Goals, (Week 4: 1 week).

Now, you get to relax because you already have your goals written down. You created these goals during your daily brainstorming sessions during week 1. This step should be easy.

5. Implement Plan: (Ongoing)

Congratulations! You have successfully created a myIDP. I know that it was a long process filled with mixed emotions, eagerness, nervousness and (insert emotion of your choice), but you completed it. The final stage of the process is to carry out your plan. Depending on your goals it can be a short or long process.

The thing to remember is that the myIDP tool is something that you will have to revise when necessary. By spending at least 4 weeks instead of hours on the myIDP tool I was able to prioritize my goals and design a successful plan.

Tips for Goal Planning & Using myIDP tool:

  • Pick 2-4 goals: This is a good amount of goals to start with. You will feel great once you complete them. Every time you complete a goal add a new goal and keep a running list of your completed goals.
  • Have a balance: It is important to have both small and big goals so you won’t get overwhelmed. Some goals can be daily, weekly or monthly. Don’t be afraid to break your goals into smaller goals.
  • Keep a log: Use the myIDP My Notes tab or start keeping a journal so you can monitor your progress.

I know that this may seem like a lot of work, but when it comes to planning and organizing I believe that if you plan well, you will do well. I feel more relaxed and productive when I have all of my goals outlined in detail and organized.

I hope that my tips have helped you. Good luck!

My important take-home message is to keep a journal. Write it down and make it happen!

Have you used the myIDP tool? If not, are you convinced to try it? Comment below.

23 thoughts on “myIDP (Individual Development Plan) & How to Use it

  1. Seem to be a really useful tool! I had used documents and spreadsheets I created myself for similar purposes (in past career transitions) but I can totally relate with the approach.
    I think it is important – though it may sound paradoxical – to plan at a detailed level and still allow for ongoing changes (“moving-target-style”) based on feedback you get or based on other non-predictable input.

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