What is a Career Development Plan?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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A career development plan is a way to set future goals for progression in a chosen career. The plan might be something an employee creates on his or her own, or he might do it with the assistance of a career counselor, or even a present employer. Creating a list of goals, along with strategies for achieving those goals and a desired completion date, can be a step in the right direction when trying to improve a career.

One might begin a career development plan before college, or more commonly, when wanting to change careers in mid-life, or get promoted to a higher position. To begin, imagine the desired end result. Consider if the goal involves learning skills for a specific trade, advancing into management, or even starting a private business? Keep in mind, however, that career development plans are not set in stone, and may be altered at any point. They are only meant to be guidelines.

Once the ultimate goals are in mind, it is time to break it down into smaller steps that will need to be taken. A realistic assessment of one's current skills, abilities, and education is very important at this juncture. This will indicate existing qualifications, along with the areas that need to be improved upon. When creating a list of steps to reach the goals, keep in mind that they can be formal or informal.


Formal steps might be a list of classes that need to be taken, exams to pass, or certifications that need to be attained. Informal steps might be researching the chosen career or meeting with people for networking purposes. Any step that seems necessary to take to help achieve the final goal should be included in a career development plan. It is a good idea to include a general date by which the goals should be completed. This will not only help provide better motivation, but will also help keep track of important test dates or application deadlines.

A career development plan can be as long or short as is necessary. One might want to complete the goal within one year, or in as much as five years. Setting small, realistic goals that can be easily completed along the way will help provide a sense of accomplishment, while simultaneously encouraging more work toward the next step.


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Post 4

Icecream17- Sometimes if you are lucky you might find a supervisor that will mentor you and give you ideas as to what you could potentially do in the future.

A boss really understands your strengths and weaknesses and might be able to help you to develop an employee career development plan for your future.

Many companies have this even written into their annual employee evaluations. It is also very motivating to think about how you will execute your future career plans.

Post 3

Sneakers41- I think it's important to create a leadership development plan like that. It is important to try to upgrade your skills constantly so that you can be more upwardly mobile.

People that lack a focus or a career development plan often find themselves in the same position for a long time because they lack the initiative and motivation to seek something better.

It is never good to stay in a comfortable job that does not challenge you because you do not learn as much and start become bored in your position.

You see this a lot with some teachers that have been teaching for a long time and never thought about gaining additional endorsements so that

they could be qualified to teach more subjects.

Although they do get tuition reimbursement and in some cases loan forgiveness for some programs many teachers fail to take advantage of these programs and don't seek higher education and graduate degrees.

The graduate degree really opens up many career development plans. A teacher with a master's degree can seek a specialist degree or doctorate and go on to teach at the University level and do research or seek an administrative or Executive position within the school system.

Post 2

An individual career development plan is an important individual development plan to have. Before you can create a personal career development plan you really have to know what it is that you want to do, and where you see yourself in the future.

For example, if your goal is to become a teacher, you might want to seek work as a camp counselor in the summers, or work in an elementary school or high school as an intern.

This experience will give you enough knowledge and work experience to be able to be placed in a teaching position upon graduation.

You may also do volunteer work pertaining to children's educational issues. Maybe you can be a part

of literacy initiatives in your city.

This also provides additional opportunities and creates a more well-rounded background for you and makes it easier to develop a career in teaching.

You will also have to develop a five year career development plan on paper. These goals could include obtaining a graduate degree in a specialty area such as reading, curriculum instruction, or educational leadership.

If your personal career development plan includes becoming a principal, then you would obtain a degree in educational leadership and possibly continue your education to even the Doctorate level.

Post 1


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