A career development plan outlines an employee’s long-term career goals and objectives. It also includes short-term ones and the steps needed to achieve them.
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You can use a career development plan to identify your strengths and weaknesses. You can also use it to help you decide which skills may be transferrable between fields.
This article lists twelve of the most critical elements of a career development plan:
1. Assess Your Current Career Position
The first step is to take some time to evaluate your current position. In your self-assessment, determine what skills and experiences do you need to be promoted within your company. This can help you pinpoint the areas of your career that are the most important to improve upon.
For example, if you want to have a management role, you must assess whether there are specific skills required for your target position. If you think you lack some skills, you can check your options, like enrolling in online courses, to up your chances of getting the position.
2. Set Career Goals
Career goals are the long-term direction of your career. They are what you want to accomplish in your professional life. When coming up with your career goals, do not forget to include an outline of what skills and knowledge you need to attain them.
When writing down your career goals, try to be as specific as possible and ensure they are measurable. For instance, if you want to become a manager, state precisely what responsibilities that position requires and how much it pays. This helps you determine whether or not you have sufficient training or education necessary for that position and whether or not it is something that interests or motivates you enough to pursue such a position.
3. Attend Development Workshops
Now is the time if you have never attended a professional development workshop. Many organizations offer training sessions throughout the year to help you develop new skills or improve existing ones.
You can also look into online courses and find out more about them because they can help you land satisfying jobs that lead to excellent careers. Consider joining organizations on digital marketing, social media management, and data analysis. The more you know about these things, the better off you’ll be, as they have wide applications.
4. Identify Your Strengths
Another step to creating a career development plan is identifying your strengths. This means looking at what you are good at and enjoying doing.
You can determine your strengths by taking an inventory of everything you do well and enjoy doing. You can also ask others for their opinions on your strengths, provided that they know you well enough. Ask your immediate supervisor, college advisor, or someone who, in any way, acts as a mentor to you.
For example, if you have a talent in writing, it might be worth considering a career that enables you to use this particular skill. Doing so may even help you further develop your writing skills and experience, which then makes you more marketable.
5. Hone Your Weaknesses
One of the most critical steps in creating a CDP is identifying and addressing your weaknesses. Understanding where you need improvement is crucial if you want to be successful on the job. Many people are unaware of their shortcomings, leading to wasted time and resources.
You may use a variety of methods to identify your weaknesses. You can work with a coach or mentor or you can use a personality test or assessment tool like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Once you have a clear idea of what your weaknesses are, take them into account when creating your career development plan. While honing your weaknesses, you can play to your strengths so as to gain a competitive edge.
6. Review Your Education History
You must review any courses or degrees you’ve taken in high school or college as well. This can help you determine whether those classes are helpful to your career goals and if there are any gaps in your education history.
If there are gaps, you may need remedial classes or electives to help you get where you want to be. You can track what universities offer programs in your field of study so that when they offer training, workshops, or limited-time courses, you’ll be ready to apply.
You can also review your transcript and go over any relevant coursework. If you have the time, you can call up and interview past employers and check if they can issue certificates for workshops and seminars you’ve attended. By going over your education history, you can check what related or specialized fields you can focus your career goals on.
7. Determine Your Values And Attitudes
You should also consider your values and attitudes. This will help you identify what you want out of life, what you have to offer, and how you can achieve your goals. Your values are the things that matter most to you; they are what you believe are important and worth pursuing. On the other hand, your attitude is how you perceive your values and use them in your decisions.
You can determine your values and attitudes by identifying what you deem essential and ethical. This way, you can figure out how to apply these values to make better decisions. For instance, if you value good work–life balance, then you should find a profession that won’t be in conflict with your personal life. You should be able to do both well without sacrificing one for another.
8. Analyze Your Interests
You need to analyze your interests so that they can be used as a guide for your career development plan. For instance, if you are interested in traveling and want to work in an organization that deals with travel, then you may want to concentrate on learning what type of job opportunities are available for someone with such an interest.
You may find that specific jobs fit your personality and skills better than others, so it is vital to find out about various careers to narrow down your choices. This can help you decide which field best suits your interests and abilities.
9. Consider The Certifications You Must Obtain
You may need to obtain certifications to advance in your career. Consider all the credentials required for entry-level positions, including college degrees, professional licenses, and industry certifications.
After that, determine which areas of study is the most beneficial to you at this career stage. You can choose between continuing education courses, taking online degree programs, and looking for on-the-job training. If you’re just starting or have some experience but need help figuring out where to go, consider taking classes at local colleges or universities. Enrolling in these classes will allow you to not only learn new skills but also network with other professionals in the field.
10. Discover Your Obstacles
Knowing what obstacles are holding you back from achieving your career goals is essential. For instance, if you have to obtain certifications but don’t have the financial means, this may block your career growth. After identifying your obstacles, you can look for ways to overcome them.
You can solve impediments to your career growth by identifying the cause. Say you lack funds to pursue post-graduate studies. You can consider getting a part-time job so that you can finance your studies. Another option is to take on student loans to finish your degree. Some companies offer to pay for your education if it can benefit them as well. For example, they can pay for your MBA if you work for them in a managerial role for a certain period.
You might want to apply for internships or jobs in related fields where you can gain experience without an expensive tuition fee. You’ll be able to gain valuable skills and knowledge that will help you in your search for a new job in the future.
11. Write Your Vision And Mission Statements
Vision and mission statements are not only limited to organizations. Having a clear vision and mission is pivotal. These statements can guide you through life and career decisions in the future. When creating these statements, you should include goals, objectives, values, and other essential aspects of your personal development that will help you succeed in your career.
You can create one yourself, or you can use an example from another person who has achieved great things in their career. You may ask a mentor or a boss who helped them make positive life changes. This way, you can get some guidance about what it takes to succeed in your field.
12. Evaluate Your Career Progress
After taking these steps, you must assess your progress to know if you are on track with your career-building goals. If you have been working for a few years and have not received any promotions or significant raises, then it may be time to scrutinize why that is the case. This evaluation may enable you to identify what you need to advance more quickly in your current role.
This may be due to a lack of opportunities for advancement or simply a lack of skill development within your current role. Regular assessment helps you remain open-minded and be willing to learn new things to develop yourself further and advance your career. This can also push you to improve your career development plan and set new goals.
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If you’re feeling stuck in your job or want to secure your future, creating a career development plan can help you. It’ll allow you to start thinking about what your career trajectory is and how can you significantly impact the world around you. This gives you a framework for making your decision and will likely make it much easier to land a promotion in the future.