How to Write a Career Development Plan

Learning how to write a career development plan is critical if you aim to advance in your career. According to statistics, 52% of people are unsatisfied with their job, and 76% of employees are looking for career growth opportunities. 

Setting goals can give you a structure to achieve a milestone by giving your career a sense of direction and boost your motivation. A career development plan is helpful for anyone setting career goals to progress by following a specific career path.

If you know how to write a career development plan, you can break out of a career rut, gear towards finding something that you love, have a clear idea of what you really want, and avoid the pitfalls of career mismatch.  

Steps to create a career development plan

1. Self-assessment

The first step in creating a career development plan is self-assessment. This means reflecting on what you want for yourself and your career. Self-assessment is crucial in choosing an occupation, starting a job search, and making a career change. It includes an evaluation of your values, personal interests, aptitudes, skills, and knowledge. 

By doing self-assessment, you can determine what skills and knowledge you currently possess and identify what areas you need to improve on and the goals you want to achieve. After assessing yourself, you will have already identified suitable careers that match your traits.

2. Explore careers to identify career options

Now that you have identified suitable careers based on your assessment, you should start exploring the careers that appeal to you. You can refer to career guides as you begin to explore the ones that you find interesting. 

Career guides assist individuals by providing guidance in making an informed educational and occupational choice. These guides help individuals find out the needed skills and knowledge in the chosen career path. Digging deeper into the career you are interested in, the career guides will help you narrow down your career choices. 

You can also check the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to find out the nature of work, training, education, salary, and job outlook for different occupations in the U.S.

3. Compare careers

Armed with all the information you have gathered from career guides, you can begin comparing careers that match your traits and what you want in a job. Consider important factors like the job outlook, educational and experience requirements, job duties, and salary. 

Based on what you have learned, create a shortlist by eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue further. Cross out the careers with duties that are unappealing to you or if you are not willing to fulfill the requirements, such as extensive education.

4. Make a career choice

Pick the occupation you think will bring satisfaction in your life. You are allowed to change your mind about your current career of choice if you realize that your current career is not suited for you. 

5. Set goals

Now that you have identified a career path that you want to pursue, the next step is to develop an action plan and setting a realistic career goal. Your career objective should include short-term and long-term goals.

Long-term goals are goals that take a long time to achieve, typically over a year. On the other hand, short-term goals are goals that can be completed in a shorter period of time. It can be in a span of a couple of days or months. Your short-term goals are generally small objectives that lead you to your long-term goal. 

Be SMART in setting your short-term and long-term goals. This means that your goals should be:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Time-bound

Goals should be specific and precisely detailed. You can use figures or numbers to determine and measure your goals. When writing goals, they should be achievable and realistic, so they won’t be just a dream because they are within your reach. Lastly, goals should be time-bound, so you have a target date to focus on. 

6. Develop your career action plan

Developing a career action plan is the gist of writing a career development plan. A career action plan is your roadmap to go from point A to point B of your career goal. 

Write down specific action steps to achieve your short-term goals and long-term goals to stay organized and focused. Tick them off as you complete an action step. Your goals and priorities may change during the course of taking your career path, and it is okay to change your career action plan when you feel that you need to.  

Enroll in online courses

Leaning online can help individuals improve their skills and discover a new passion. There are also online courses where you can learn in-depth lessons on how to write a career development plan easily, just like the online courses below:

Navigating an Unconventional Career Path

Discover how you can identify your next career goal and pave the way to your ideal career by taking the Navigating an Unconventional Career Path online course.

This online course will help professionals take a realistic approach by navigating an unconventional career path. So whether your career goal is to advance in your nine-to-five job, starting your own business, or investing your time for a side-hustle, this online course will help you achieve your target.

Successful Career Management In The Corporate World

If you are a professional who’s interested in learning the basics of management and how promotions work in a company to work on a career plan, then you can take advantage of the Successful Career Management In The Corporate World online course.

This online course provides guidelines, principles, and concrete tools based on the insights on how a corporate world operates. By the end of the course, you will already have an idea of how you can write an inspiring career development plan. And finally, prepare yourself for a promotion application or accelerate your career path.

Recommended courses for you

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