University of California, Riverside

Human Resources

Your Guide to Professional Development

Your Guide to Professional Development

UC Riverside offers a variety of resources for you to leverage when planning your professional development. From personality assessments and skill inventories, to career workshops, we are here to help you map out a plan to help you acquire and develop the skills necessary to advance your career. Let the UCR Core Competencies guide your way, and you're off to a great start.

Having a professional development plan can help you if you are looking to improve your performance on your current job, or expanding your skills in order to apply for a new position. With goal setting at its heart, a professional development plan can help you organize your ideas into a cohesive plan that starts with short-term goals and moves to mid-range and long-term goals. You can then link what you want to achieve, or the competencies you want to develop, with the activities that will help you get there.

The UCR Core Competencies

The UC Core Competency Model was adopted by UCOP as a way to guide talent management and development at UC. They are descriptive of the skills that successful UC employees should have. Our various development opportunities map to these competencies, making it easy to determine the areas you would like to develop. For more information, visit the UCR Core Competencies page.

Development Courses & the UCR Competencies

UC Riverside's Employment and Development office offers a variety of classes and workshops. They all correspond to one or more of the UCR Core Competencies. To view the full catalog of courses, visit the UC Learning Center at

Download Core Competencies & Major Programs and Courses Matrix

Your Individual Development Plan

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an organized approach to professional development activities and programs that are designed to improve the individual's professional skills. It is helpful to have when planning development activities, and is especially useful when discussing the year's development goals during the performance management process.

When creating an IDP, consider:

  • Strengths that, if enhanced, will contribute to your overall career goals
  • New skills that will enhance job performance
  • Areas of performance/skills that need to be improved

The above constitute the purpose of the development activity. Some additional needs that contribute to establishing the purpose may include:

  • Change in technology
  • New assignment
  • Future staffing need
  • Leadership development
  • Relationship building

Though you want the IDP to be thorough and cover all major development needs, try to keep it brief and to the point so that it does not give the impression of being unwieldy or overwhelming. Focus on key areas to be developed.

Both you and your supervisor should be involved in the design of the IDP. This should be done early in the performance management cycle, when expectations and goals for the upcoming year are discussed. You should propose specific ways to develop in selected areas, or you may design the plan and then jointly review and refine the content with your supervisor.

Employee & Organizational Development offers a variety of assessments to help you identify areas you would like to develop, and various courses to allow you to do so. For a list of different offerings, please click here. Our offerings are mapped to the UCR Core Competencies. For more information on the competencies, please click here.

Once you have identified your development areas, you can begin your development plan. It should include the competency/skill you wish to develop, learning activities that can help you develop the identified skill, the learning resources, the timeframe, and success indicators.

Professional Development Activities

Keep in mind that while courses are available, they are not the only ways you can develop. Below are suggestions to facilitate your growth.

  • Job rotation
  • Stretch
  • Temporary
  • Work groups
  • Presentations
  • Changing functions
  • Shift changes
  • Working with new people
Develop in Place
  • Mentoring
  • Individual projects
  • Perspective building
  • Tough challenge
  • Shift in size of job
Off the Job Opportunities
  • Joining/leading community groups
  • Trying a new skill in a volunteer organization
  • Giving presentations to civic groups
On the Job Opportunities
  • Taking on new projects or assignments
  • Temporary assignments, e.g., filling in for someone on vacation
  • Assuming lead role responsibilities
  • Improving a process or procedure
  • Readings/Self-study
  • Professional organizations
  • College/University Programs
  • Seminars
  • New team
  • New system/service/process

Career Planning

Ten tips on using social media to build your professional network:

  1. Avoid cutting and pasting your resume — It is best to describe your experience, skills, and qualifications as you would to someone you just met.
  2. Enhance your profile with language that markets you — Use adjectives, action verbs and and language that describes your experience and qualifications.
  3. Write a personal tagline — Create something eye-catching to describe who you are.
  4. Summarize yourself in 30 seconds or less — You’ve got 5 – 10 seconds to capture someone’s attention. The more meaningful your summary, the more time you will get from readers.
  5. Point out your skills — Use key words and industry buzzwords.  Highlight your abilities and professional interests.
  6. Explain your experience — Help the reader grasp the clear points. Use clear, succinct phrases and break them down visually.  Use quantitative examples when appropriate.  For example, "Manage a $5.2M budget."
  7. Distinguish yourself from the crowd — Add websites to groups or organizations that showcase your abilities or passions.
  8. Ask and answer questions — This helps to establish your expertise, raise visibility, and build your social image with people in your network.
  9. Get recommendations from colleagues, clients and employers — Meaningful comments about your abilities or specific skills shapes other people’s opinion of you. Think quality, not quantity.
  10. Build your connections — Search for commonalities with other professionals. Identify connections that will add to your credibility and pursue those.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Human Resources
1201 University Ave., Suite 208
Riverside, CA 92507

Tel: (951) 827-5588
Fax: (951) 827-2672