Create a career development plan

Being spontaneous and flexible is fine as far as it goes but developing a career development plan increases your chance of getting what you want.

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It so often happens that careers develop by accident or worse still by default.

It is possible to for you to manage your career. Whether you do –and to what extent you do is your choice. We have all probably seen the manager who got the job because no one else was around. In fact it also happens that careers don’t develop at all and people remain at the same level for years. It doesn’t have to be that way.


Who has managed your career so far?

As a starting point note all your career changes to date. When did you progress, when was it stalled, when it could have changed but didn’t. At each of these critical points someone r something decided the direction you took. The key question is was you who decided, someone else or circumstances? It can be difficult to work out but on average we make conscious career choosing decisions about 25% of the time, the rest is other people or circumstances.

Make your career like your learning into a project. It is pretty much like all projects you have to consider the basic issues:


1. Where are we now? br>2. Where do we want to be and by when?
3. What needs to be done to get us there?
4. What do we need to do make their sustainable for us?

Learn more about the lifeline exercise here and how it can help you choose a career.

Where do we want to be and by when?

If you were a business you would review performance to date, look internally at your strengths and weaknesses, check in your resources and look externally at how you compared with your competitors.

career development plan To develop a carer development plan you need to do the same and reflect on where you are right now?
Here are some quick ideas to get you started on your personal audit:

Write down your career history to date and note key responsibilities and skill and knowledge acquired and achievements made.
Summarise in strength order your transferable skills that a future employer might be interested in.
Write down your likes and dislikes about work in general and your job in particular.
Write down your personal values and what is important to you about work
Get some perspective by doing some thinking on your broader life goals and see how your career development planning integrates with that.

NY Times career resources

More career planning resources here
10 alternative career ideas here


Where do I want to be?

For your career development plan think about what constitutes an opportunity for you?
Look at what you might like to do
Consider the locations of where you would like to work
Think about the requirements of those jobs
Conduct a gap analysis comparing now with your opportunities and career ideas
Then figure out strategies for filling the gap and by when.

Here are some quick ideas to get you started on understanding where you want to be:
Review your career and look for patterns what does it tell you about your next choice?
Identify factors that could broaden or limit your opportunities such as mobility, family, and flexibility
Think about your life style and your individual job security needs
Conduct a visioning exercise and describe on paper your perfect job as if it happened suddenly overnight. What would you see, what would you be doing, where would you be?
Speak to a Mentor about your career goals
Interview senior managers in your company and through your networks

For more information on leadership theories Go to leadership theories. click here

Think a mentor might help? click here for more



Career Development Plan Example

career development planning


Getting there

As part of your career development planning you have figured out where you want to go and by when. Now you have to work out ways of getting there.
1. What am I going to need
2. How am I going to get it?
3. Where am I going to get it from?


What am I going to need? Your needs cover 3 things:
Your learning and development (knowledge, skills, attitudes)
Your experiences in terms of being able to apply and practice
Your new skills and knowledge until you are competent
Getting the breaks in order to get the right development and experience

How am I going to get it?
Major: training, job changes, education, approaching key influencers
Minor: Self learning plus practicing new habits and behaviours


Where am I going to get it from?
From your present organisation your Boss, colleagues, internal courses and projects and programmes
Other organisations ex colleagues, mentors, libraries, universities
Networks Family friends professional networks

You now have enough information to complete your career development plan.

Create a format, use the example above or find one from work

Complete the actions required, by whom and help and resources.


More ideas on choosing a career here

Click here to find out how can organisations support this process

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