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Fueling Career Development with AI
A Comprehensive Guide to Creating an Individual Growth Plan Using ChatGPT
The advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized countless industries, with career development standing out as an area of unique potential. AI language models like OpenAI's ChatGPT are becoming essential tools for introspective exploration and strategic career development. This article offers a detailed, step-by-step guide on leveraging ChatGPT in creating your own Individual Growth Plan (IGP).
Harnessing AI for Career Growth
Leveraging its capacity to process extensive information and deliver nuanced, human-like text, AI is an effective tool for career planning. Through deep introspection, ChatGPT empowers individuals to define career goals, strengths, and weaknesses and, in turn, devise a tactical plan to bridge skills gaps.
My Experience with ChatGPT
I engaged with ChatGPT to highlight my key strengths, identify improvement areas, and share my career aspirations. This iterative and in-depth Q&A process enabled me to formulate a personalized growth plan focusing on my leadership style, team dynamics, self-awareness, and adaptability. I used GitLab's publicly accessible Individual Growth Plan documentation and template to guide me. The combination of using AI and GitLab's framework facilitated the creation of strategic career objectives and a solid action plan.
Creating a personal README to copy and paste into ChatGPT to train the model about yourself is immensely beneficial. You can view my README here:
Tip: You'll need to copy and paste long pieces of text like this in sections. Use a prompt such as, "I will paste some text in sections for you to train your model. Reply, "I'm ready" after each pasted section is submitted.
Peter Drucker's seminal article, "Managing Oneself," provides questions that help you reflect and generate valuable insights. Here is an overview of Drucker’s questions:
1. What are my strengths? 2. How do I perform? a. I am a [reader/listener]. b. I learn by [doing/listening/writing/talking]. c. I work best [as a team member/alone] d. When working with others, I work best [...] e. I am a [strong/learning/uninterested coach or mentor]. f. I lead teams [effectively/uninterested]. g. I produce results as a [advisor/decision-maker]. h. I work [well/poorly] under stress, in this situation you can expect [...]. i. I work best in [small/medium/large organizations] with [the following conditions]. 3. What are my values? 4. Where do I belong? 5. What can I contribute?
While I believe Personality Tests Are the Astrology of the Office, if you engage with several of them, there will be shared insights one can view as valid. Here are a few that can help you develop your README:
Clifton StengthFinder (Paid)
VIA Strengths Assessment (Free)
Big 5 assessment (Free)
Roadmap to Creating an IGP with ChatGPT
Here's a comprehensive guide on how you can employ ChatGPT in creating your IGP:
Step 1: Kickstart the Dialogue
Begin your journey by treating ChatGPT as a mentor or a career coach. In fact, I specifically asked ChatGPT to emulate Bill Campbell, author of "The Trillion Dollar Coach," whom I greatly admire.
Initiate the conversation by providing context about your current role, responsibilities, interests, and challenges.
For example, I shared details about my current role, information about my MBA program, and my ambition to attain a VP-level role. This allowed ChatGPT to understand my professional scenario and offer more tailored advice.
Act like a career coach working with me to determine my next career step. Take inspiration from tech leadership coaches like Bill Campbell, author of The Trillion Dollar Coach. I have just completed an Executive MBA and excel at Strategy, Marketing, Digital Product, Digital Transformation, and Leadership. My LinkedIn is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-preuss-mba/ Some questions you could consider asking include: 1. What do you love about your job? 2. What do you hate about your job? From there: 1. What itch do you want to scratch 2. What risk do you want to/have you taken? 3. What do you like about your day-to-day? 4. What do you not like about your day-to-day? 5. What are your 1-year goals? 5-years? It is ok not to know. 6. What is one risk you took in the last year? a. Why did you take that risk? 7. What is one risk you want to take this year? a. One thing you want to learn? 8. What is one project that is coming up that interests you? Why? 9. What is your biggest strength? a. Are you using it today? 10. What is your biggest development area? What are you actively working on? I want to work in a step-by-step, question-and-answer format that will help me create a career development plan that identifies where I could grow and outlines a skills gap for me to fill in.
Step 2: Delve Deeper
With an established understanding of your professional situation, it's time to delve deeper. Frame your queries to extract more insightful responses by being specific and detailed in your questions. This specificity and detail will significantly improve the accuracy and relevance of the AI's responses.
Tip: Feel free to push ChatGPT after a response. For example, you can use this prompt: This last response is very surface level; continue as a proven and experienced career coach with deep experience in [enter your field of interest].
Here is a prompt you can use:
Based on what you have learned about me, answer the following questions: 1. Interpersonal and Leadership Style: What's my leadership style, and how has it evolved? 2. How would you describe my communication style? 3. Team Dynamics: How do I build trust and inspire my team? 4. How do I handle conflict within my team or with stakeholders? 5. Managing Upwards and Sideways: How effective am I at managing relationships upwards and sideways? 6. What areas do I want to improve? 7. Self-awareness and Feedback: How open am I to feedback, and how do I apply it? 8. What's an area of my leadership or interpersonal style I'd like to improve? 9. Work-Life Harmony: How am I balancing the demands of work with my personal life and self-care? 10. Are there any changes I'd like to make? 11. Legacy and Impact: What legacy do I want to leave in my career? 12. What impact do I want to have on my team, organization, and industry? 13. Learning and Adaptability: In what areas do I want to continue learning? How comfortable am I with change and uncertainty, and what can I do to become more adaptable?
Step 3: Reflect and Evaluate
Once you've received responses from ChatGPT, it's time for introspection and analysis. ChatGPT is powerful, but it’s not perfect, and the above questions include insights into yourself that you can expect the AI to get wrong. Correct anything that doesn't reflect yourself, enter the updates into ChatGPT, and review the feedback, looking for common threads, valuable insights, and potential growth areas.
A prompt like these can guide your reflection:
1. Please summarize our conversation thus far and outline a personal action plan for the next 9 - 12 months.
Step 4: Formulate Your Action Plan
After your reflection and analysis, formulate a concrete action plan. This should include specific steps to address the identified growth areas and advance toward your career goals.
Sample prompts include:
1. What are three concrete actions I can take for each point in the action plan to ensure its success? 2. What steps should I take to develop [identified skill]? 3. What strategies can I employ to overcome the challenges I'm currently facing in my role?
Remember, your action plan should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Regularly revisit and refine your plan based on your progress and new career goals.
Step 5: Skills-Gap Analysis
Finally, with an action plan in place, conduct a skills-gap analysis. This will help identify your existing skills and areas requiring development.
This can be initiated with questions like:
1. Based on my end goals and where I am now, create a skills-gap analysis for me. 2. What specific skills do I need to improve or acquire to enhance my effectiveness as [desired role]? 3. How can I align my existing skills with the demands of my desired role?
Regularly update your skills gap analysis to reflect your evolving career trajectory and skills development.
Enriching Your IGP with Additional Elements
Consider supplementing your IGP with sections such as:
1. Future Risks and Learning Opportunities: Identify a potential risk or challenge you're considering this year and a specific skill or knowledge area you'd like to expand. 2. Upcoming Projects: Highlight upcoming projects or initiatives that spark your interest, and articulate why they're important to you.
AI is a critical tool to help you take control of your career development. With its assistance, you can clearly define your career goals, formulate a strategic action plan, and carve a path for personal and professional growth. Embrace AI as a career guide and let it assist you on your journey to success. What are you waiting for?