By Harry Southworth
A career development plan is something that you decide to do for yourself to gain clarity on what you are doing, why you are doing it and where you want to end up. In essence, it is a written summary of all your professional ambitions and objectives and how you plan to achieve them. Taking the time to write a career development plan can assist in clarifying what your career goals are and in turn, sharpen your focus on achieving them.
Why write a career development plan?
When it comes to career development, you can often feel like the whole process is out of your control and that it all depends on opportunities that others offer you. That’s where you are wrong because you have a lot more control over your career path than you may think. Writing a plan is important for defining goals, implementing a goal-achieving strategy and executing that strategy successfully. By writing a career development plan, you are acknowledging all the things that you can do to achieve your goals and how you’ll set out on accomplishing them.
Taking the time to write a career development plan can also help to:
Prevent career ruts
When the paperwork starts to pile up and you forget why you chose your career path, having a career development plan reminds you of the bigger picture and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
You cannot expect yourself to be the best at everything, it’s in our DNA to have weaknesses but that doesn’t mean they cannot be addressed and corrected. Your career development plan will help to identify these weaknesses and set up a strategy to work on improving them in order to achieve your professional goals.
Where to Start
Here are some tips on how to go about writing your own career development plan:
Identify interests within your chosen career
Here you state the career you’re currently in, and what drew you to this path specifically. You may have started out in advertising but discover through this exercise that your interests actually lie more specifically in vehicle advertising or in the research of advertising trends.Your interests are usually the driving force behind the amount of effort you’ll put into your work – the more you’re interested in a specific area of work, the more likely you are to work harder at doing this type of work.
Identify career goals
Your career goals can be anything from becoming a store manager to becoming a CEO or a startup owner. Remember, this is a development plan, so your goals are what this plan is going to work towards. You may not have the qualifications or the experience just yet, but that is what the plan will address so that you can start working towards these goals.
Long term vs. short term goals breakdown
Based on the main goals that you have set out in the career goals heading, now you start to assign long-term and short-term goals that will build up to your main career goals. These are the milestones that will keep you motivated in the early stages of your career development – even if your main career goal may seem further out of reach. Career development is a process that involves many ups and downs, and it is important that you respect and become comfortable with this process in order to make it successfully to the finish line.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Confidently using your strengths to overcome weaknesses can make all the difference in achieving your goals. By playing on your strengths wherever possible, you will begin to gain confidence within yourself and your abilities. By identifying your weaknesses, you will know what additional training or courses you may need to invest in. Remember, a weakness is just a strength that hasn’t been trained yet.
Assign achievable (realistic) checkpoints
Checkpoints are where you will assess your progress so far. It could be an annual assessment or quarterly one depending on your industry and the type of short-term goals you have set for yourself. These checkpoints will be your way of assessing how far you have come in your career development plan and will help you to determine if you’re staying on track towards your long-term goals.
In conclusion, writing a career development plan in something that you can do for yourself and it might be something that your company encourages you to do. Taking the time to think about your professional development and creating a plan to achieve your career goals is important to provide you with the right amount of clarity and boost of confidence you need to succeed in your chosen profession.
About the Author
Harry Southworth is a blogger, yogi, and writer at StudyClerk. Through his blog posts, he has a goal to open people’s eyes and push them towards more mindful living. Everyone has potential to be better. They just need the push.