How Do I Create a Career Development Plan?
Before even starting to create a career development plan, it’s important for you to be clear on what you want. After you have this clarity, you can begin to work what steps you’re going to take to achieve your career goals. Set the criteria for the direction and nature of your career development and also take into account any constraints on you. At the same time, don’t neglect your personal preferences, because your career development plan should take you to a point where you’ll be happy and comfortable in your career.
To become clear on what you want from your career, allocate some time to reflecting on what you’d like to be doing. Consider whether you want to be working in a different department for your current employer, working in a different position or perhaps spearheading a new team. You might be thinking of getting a new job or changing careers altogether.
It might be that you don’t know what you’d like to do. If that's the case, ask yourself what you want to be doing right now and what you’re better at doing than anyone else. If you’re not sure where your strengths lie, ask people close to you what you’re good at or think about what others ask you to do on a regular basis.
After you know where you want to be in your career, start building a career development plan that will get you there. If you want to work in a different department, find out what training you’ll need and whether you can shadow a colleague who already works in that department. When aiming for a promotion, create strategies for optimizing your current performance at work to turn yourself into a top promotion candidate. This might involve improving your skills in presentation, public speaking or negotiation. Finding a new job requires you to consider how far you’re willing to commute, what hours you can work and the family commitments around which the new role will need to fit.
Regardless of what your career goals are, keep the lines of communication open with your employer. Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your aims. He or she might be able to help you find the training or work-shadowing opportunities necessary for you to execute your career development plan. Even if you’re thinking of leaving the company and getting a new job, speak with your boss first, because he or she might be willing to change your working conditions in such a way that encourages you to stay.
Some people who want or need extra help with their career development planning use the services of a career coach or career guide. If you hire a high-quality career professional, he or she can assist you in achieving clarity in your career goals and developing effective career strategies. Good career experts will have some practical experience in the world of work and career development planning. They’ll use a variety of tools to help you create your career development plan but will also take the time to get to know you as a person and to give you honest feedback about your goals.
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