Have you ever been on a vacation where you didn’t deem it fit to plan your itinerary before leaving your home? It needs no further explanation of how frustrating you must have come out of that experience.
That is very similar to what happens when you don’t have a career plan and decide to wing it instead. Would you rather leave your career advancement on autopilot and see where it goes, or take charge? The top professionals think the latter. That is why professionals invest a lot in building a career development plan to guide their advancement through the ranks. Here are some tips on creating your career development plan.
1. Plan Your Destination
The first thing to consider when creating a personal career development plan is where you hope to be and when. That is simply the classic move of planning from the end to the present. This is where you decide what stage of the career you see yourself in the coming years. This is the response to a very common interview question: Where do you see yourself in the next five years or more?
2. Assess Your Situation
Now that you have decided what your future should look like, it is time to look at the present. What is your current situation and how does that tie into the goal you have set? How equipped are you to make things happen? How far do you have to go if you are to hit that target? What are the things you need to do in the space of time you have allotted yourself? What are your biggest strengths and worst weaknesses? Which threats do you face? What opportunities are readily available?
3. Define Goals
You know where you are going. Setting goals to get there should be the next thing on your list. These goals would be in line with what you have identified from above. Your goals could include going back to school to get a degree, picking up some new skills along the way, meeting new people in the industry, etc. You will also want the goals to reflect where you are right now and the journey you’ll take to the endpoint. We recommended setting short-term goals within each long-term goal. That will give you a feeling of accomplishment when you reach the targets and propel you to continue to progress towards your goal.
You won’t need to achieve all the goals you have written down at the same time. Some will be more pressing than others while some will snowball into the next one. You should take all those goals you have listed and arrange them in orders of priority. Put the most pressing goals first and save the least urgent for last. That does not mean the last goal on the list is less important. The cart never comes before a horse, but that doesn’t make it any less important to the overall setup
5. Take Action
All the planning you have been doing from above goes to naught if you don’t take action. You have a timeframe, a destination, goals and your priorities. Now, get out there and start.
There is no limit to the advantages of creating a career development plan. Not only would you be advancing in your career, but would also become a better person for it. You can download our personal career development plan template here to make the process smoother for yourself.