Chances are that you have some career aspirations. Maybe you hope to have a management job position, or perhaps you would like to switch industries or begin your startup. No matter what you wish to do, you need a career development plan for it.
Think of it as a roadmap for your career prospects.
A career development plan is a kind of traditional tool that a human resource department utilizes to help employees identify & pursue growth opportunities within the company.
Well, if you are interested in accomplishing your future goals, then keep reading this blog to find out how to create a career development plan & why it’s worthwhile & rewarding!
What Is A Career Development Plan?
Also known as the professional development plan, a career development plan is a document describing your career goals & the path that you will undertake to achieve them.
In the past, the human resources department, as well as management teams, used these plans in order to support their employee’s growth.
Presently, more & more individuals are creating their career plans to set their goals & achieve them.
However, as you develop the career plan, you will be required to consider the current state of your career, your future goals, & what approaches you need to undertake in order to move forward.
With a detailed, thoughtful career plan, you will have a clear idea of the steps which will enable you to grow your career & meet your goals. As a result, it can set you up for success in your present role or future positions.
Benefits Of A Career Development Plan
There are some noteworthy benefits of having a career development plan, like:
- Offers Roadmap For Future
If you take time to create a career development plan, you will know what your end goals are & how you can accomplish them. Without a plan, you will be tempted to just ‘go with the flow’ & make random career decisions which might or might not propel you towards success.
- Recognizing Skills Gap
While you might have strengths, there’s a good chance you’ll also have some weaknesses!
A career plan might help you transform your weaknesses into strengths by encouraging you to fill the gaps & become a more well-rounded employee.
For instance, your plan might reveal that you are a pro at written communication. However, your oral communication skills might require some effort.
- Keeps You Motivated
Once you have a plan you are satisfied & happy with; you will be more motivated to work hard & push yourself professionally.
In case you do not have a plan, you might find it easier to get discouraged & even give up.
Thus, motivation is the key, irrespective of how realistic or far-fetched your career goals might be!
Tips To Create An Effective Career Development Plan
When it comes to creating a helpful & useful career plan, you are in complete control! This implies that you can choose how to go about it. Since it’s precisely your plan, the process is up to you.
However, there are several steps that you can consider.
- Consider Your Present-Day Situation
The first & most important thing to consider is where you presently stand in your career. You can ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I enjoy?
- What do I dislike?
- What kind of skills do I have?
- What are my previous experiences?
- Do I have a life calling?
- What motivates/ excites me the most?
- Do I prefer working independently or in a team?
During this step, evaluate the position you are in & compare it to your past experiences, values, strengths, skills, & desires. This will serve as a basis for your future career potential.
- Determine Your Goals
Next, you must think about what you wish & hope to accomplish.
This will give a purpose & direction to your career plan. As you note down your goals, ensure to follow the SMART approach.
This method is in your best interest as it breaks down your future goals into short-term & long-term goals. Short-term goals will establish where you will be in a few years, while long-term goals will represent where you will be in the next 10-15 years.
- Assess Your Present Skill Set
Now, consider the skills you are confident in, along with the skills you need to develop in the future to accomplish your goals. In order to help you gauge your skill set, read various job postings related to your present position and the positions you wish to land into.
For instance, if you are a marketing manager, you might be a pro at pay-per-click marketing but need to work on SEO.
Thus, the key is, to be honest with yourself about the skills you are proficient at & which ones need some more learning & experience.
- Explore Your Resources
You don’t need to meet your career goals on your own. In fact, it’s vital to take full advantage of various resources to help you out.
Find out if your present employer offers a career development program or not. You can also explore mentorship opportunities at your company or specific organizations.
Another alternative is to participate in career development workshops & classes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions & learn from others!
- Work Towards Your Goals
During this step, you’ll have to put in the effort to make some progress regarding your goals.
In addition, you can always get your managers & supervisors involved & check in with them regularly to get their perspective on how you’re doing.
As you work towards your goals, try new approaches/ methods & seek as much guidance as you want!
- Track Your Milestones
It’s not easy to work towards accomplishing your goals & developing professionally. This is why you’ll need to keep tabs on your milestones & celebrate them along the way.
For instance, you become an expert at computer programming, enhancing your career further. Thus, treat yourself with a meal or pamper yourself in another way. This will keep you motivated to continue your hard work.
- Revisit Your Plan
A career development plan is not set in stone. It must be helpful as well as flexible enough to adapt to new situations. As you grow & your conditions change, and your goals evolve, your plan might also require a few modifications. Thus, it is best to review your plan every six months & revise it as necessary.
Tips For Effective Career Development Plans
Not all career development plans are created equal. Take help from the following tips & ensure you set yourself up for success.
- Don’t Get Discouraged
There’s no denying that career goals can be challenging to meet. However, if you believe in yourself & remain persistent, you will succeed.
But don’t forget that setbacks will only strengthen you, so don’t be afraid when failure comes your way!
- Celebrate Wins
The key to a successful career is positive thinking. If you celebrate your wins, irrespective of whether they are big or small, it implies that you have an optimistic mindset.
Thus, reward yourself every time you check a goal off your list. Also, consider how far you have come & get encouraged about where you are heading!
- Create & Foster Your Network
Do not wait for others to support you with the career choices or goals you have. Instead, be proactive & develop your relationships with a group of people who are invested in your growth & are willing to offer you the genuine help & guidance you need to succeed.
- Invest In Learning Opportunities
Knowledge is power & vital if you wish to advance in your career. It’s up to you to invest in numerous learning opportunities, like courses, certifications, books, podcasts, seminars, mentorship programs, etc.
Whether you are just a graduate or have been working in the corporate world for years, a career development plan can be an integral tool to advance your goals. Mapping out your future career will not only help you accomplish your goals but will also help you to stay inspired & motivated at work.
As a result, this will increase your productivity & strengthen your relationship with mentors & supervisors.
So, stay on top of your plan & chances are that you might be able to take your career to the next level!