8 Steps to Creating a Career Development Plan


Whether you are just starting out or have been in the workforce for years, it's important that you take steps to creating a career development plan. A plan can help you identify what direction you want to take your career. A plan can also be used as a tool to measure your success and determine if you are on track or not. Here are eight steps to creating a career development plan.

The first step is to identify what you hope to gain from your career development plan. Is it to enhance your skills, increase your earning potential, find better job opportunities, meet personal needs or accomplish other goals? If so, this step is the next in creating a career development plan. You need to outline exactly what it is you hope to accomplish. For example, if you are hoping to become a licensed teacher, you may wish to include details about the preparation for teacher licensing exams.

The second step is to set goals for your future. Think long and hard about what it is you hope to accomplish through your career development plan. This will help you determine exactly what steps to take to get there. Set realistic expectations. Don't set yourself up to fail. You will only create stress by unrealistic goals.

The third step is to decide what action you wish to take, whether this is simply to communicate with someone or take further education or training. Some people choose to go further and train in an area they are interested in. Others may choose to change jobs. Whatever the case, consider what steps are necessary to accomplish your goals.

The fourth and final step to creating a career development plan is assessing your situation. What is it that is holding you back? It could be that you have reached a certain level of success in your job. Perhaps you are not moving forward because of employer turnover or other issues. Whatever the case, assess your situation and determine where you want to go. Consider all the options: You can continue to work with the same company you have now, you can obtain a new position or take further education or training.

The fifth and most important step is determining when you will take your actions. This is the most critical step of all. When you know what you need to do and when you will do it, you can more effectively plan your time. For example, if you know that you need to begin communicating with a particular person, you should take the time to establish this relationship before you schedule your first meeting. If you don't schedule the first meeting, it will be difficult to follow up if a follow-up appointment becomes necessary down the line.

The final three steps to creating a career plan are equally important. They include establishing goals, creating a plan to reach these goals and measuring your success. Establishing goals is an important first step. Writing down what you hope to achieve in a specific career field and over time this goal should evolve into a detailed plan of action.

Measuring your success is vital. Without a plan, you will be spinning your wheels on a project without a definite path to success. While there is no perfect plan, you can design one that focuses on reaching the end result you desire the most. This includes setting short-term goals, long-term goals and medium-term goals. Measuring your success will help you stay on track, as well as giving you the ammunition you need to address any problems that you may be experiencing along the way. This in turn, will ensure that you can continue to develop your skills and get even more out of your career.

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