As we move into the new year, it’s the perfect time to sit down and revisit your professional goals for the next 12 months. Whether you’re hoping to get a job promotion or want to improve your skills in 2022, your personal development plan (PDP) is a valuable tool to help your career move forward.

If you’re reviewing your career development plan for 2022, consider these four personal development goals for work.

Develop your interpersonal skills

Research shows more than a third of Australian jobs face a significant risk of automation in the next one to two decades. However, while mundane and repetitive jobs are at risk of being automated, there are some skills that will never be replaced by automation. It’s therefore become crucial to focus on future-proofing your career by honing these skills.

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Rather than investing in technical skills over the next year, explore ways to develop your interpersonal skills such as empathy, communication, strategy and creativity. Take a course in creative thinking, improve your presentation and communication with Toastmasters, or seek ways to develop your leadership and management skills by spearheading a new project at work.

Seek mentorship

Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, having a mentor is invaluable for your career. Mentors provide guidance and wisdom for professional and personal growth, plus they can be a sounding board for new ideas or workplace challenges.

There are plenty of places to go if you’re looking for a mentor. Your company may offer a formal mentoring program, or you can take part in an external mentoring program organised by a professional network or educational institution. If all else fails, you can always reach out directly to potential mentors.

But before reaching out to a mentor, consider your development goals at work and what you want to get out of your mentoring relationship. Write down your expectations and communicate these clearly at the outset. How often will you meet, how long will the relationship last, and what role do you want them to take?

If you have a mentor already, review your current relationship and consider if anything needs to be adjusted for the future.

Get a better work-life balance

Despite our laid-back image, Australia has a strong overtime culture. This is occurring despite the growing body of research that shows working longer hours leads to decreased productivity, job satisfaction and creativity.

Achieving the right work-life balance is a lifelong challenge, and the amount of balance you need will vary depending on what stage you’re at, both professionally and personally.

Review your current work hours. Are you constantly working overtime? Do you have time for other hobbies and for your family? If you’re regularly burning the candle at both ends, it might be time to explore ways to achieve balance at work.

This could involve saying no more often, learning to prioritise, requesting flexible work hours, or speaking to your manager about your workload.

Explore new opportunities for career development

Regardless of what position you currently hold, it’s important to always be thinking about the next phase of your career. Perhaps you’re looking to finally move into a management position? Or maybe you’re looking to make the switch to a different department? These considerations are important to have in mind when formulating your personal development plan.

RELATED: How to land a promotion

As part of your development goals, set a concrete objective to explore new opportunities in the new year, and break this down into smaller actions for the short, mid and long term. These might include updating your CV, talking to your manager, learning a necessary skill or taking on a stretch assignment.

It’s also worth speaking to a recruiter to see if there are any opportunities in the market with other companies. Plus, get an idea of industry trends for the future via our Michael Page Australia Salary Benchmark Report.

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