Individual Development Plan (IDP)
The best way to ensure success is to create a plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is one of the most important tools for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. IDP helps graduate scholars chalk out their goals, map their career pathway, and define their plans.
Professional Development: Professional development involves developing yourself in your role to entirely understand the job you do and how you can improve your skills. It can include informal training and workshops, which may be delivered on the job or at an institution to develop and enhance skills in a particular area. Delivery methods could be in a classroom, web-based, coaching, consultations, and mentoring, to name a few.
IDP: An IDP is a written tool to assist students reach short and long-term academic and professional goals. By drafting an IDP, graduate students take personal responsibility and accountability for their development. An IDP can be drafted with the help of a mentor or supervisor.
Difference: Professional development relates to career training, whereas an IDP is a document that help students with setting and achieving short and long-term professional and academic goals.
It is recommended that an IDP is updated every six to twelve months, although continual reflection is encouraged. An important part of IDP is reflection on real-life successes and failures, as well as receiving feedback from others involved in the developmental process. Your IDP should be a document that grows with you over time. Be sure to converse with your mentor, advisor, or supervisor about those changes.
While drafting your IDP is your responsibility, your advisor, mentor, or supervisor should provide input and guidance.
Tools for Graduate Students and Postdocs
- myIDP – http://myidp.sciencecareers.org/) planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the sciences.
- ImaginePhD – https://www.imaginephd.com/ planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
- ChemIDP – https://chemidp.acs.org/ planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in chemistry.
Additional Tools for Postdocs
- National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Core Competencies Self-Assessment Checklist
- FASEB Individual Development Plan
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