How To Make A Career Development Plan

May 19, 2021 | Features | 0 comments

It’s a big world out there and many are in it to compete for a career they’ve always wanted. But to make a name or career out of dreams and passions, one must know how to succeed with finesse. Hence, proper career planning is a protocol for success.

Here are some essential tips in pursuing a lifelong career to serve as guidance.

RELATED: How to Develop Strong Work Ethics: The Essential Tips for Success 

career development

What is a Career Plan?

It is a plan of action that streamlines every essential factor in your pursuit of a career. This decision-making tool helps identify your strengths, interests, and best assets. Every professional should learn how to create a strategy so you don’t lose track of your goals.

How far do you project a Career Plan?

Whether it’s short- or long-term goals, a career development plan should extend until your desired result. If you’re aiming for a managerial role in 2 or 3 years, you should include every possible step in your list.

A career is always a work-in-progress. As you grow with experience, you will see that your career plan will evolve with you. A good employee in the workforce should know how to make an impression and build credibility. Building careers and credibility take up time hence proper career development planning. So don’t worry about feeling derailed in your pursuit, it’s all a part of your career advancement. Make sure that your projections are always met with growth and learning.

How to Make a Career Plan?

A career plan should not stop with listing it all down; so you should know how to walk the talk and make it work.

Now that you know what a career plan is, let’s get started!

career development

Do a Self-Assessment and Self-Reflection

It all starts with you. You are to build on your career so it’s essential to reflect on your values and assess your skills.

    • Look into your lifestyle. Do you value work-life balance? Some jobs take much longer work hours, while others take shorter work hours but with higher risks. You should learn how to weigh your advantages and disadvantages. Be firm in your decision to stay on the type of work arrangement you’re about to take. You don’t want to regret it and find it harder to stay or leave once you’re accustomed to a particular track.
    • Identify your strengths. Do your strengths help you in your career? Make the most of your core competencies to increase your productivity and efficiency. Be a valuable resource to your company by using your skills and talents. Soft skills are the non-technical skills that help make you efficient at work. These can include nonverbal communication and public speaking skills. Hard skills are the necessary skills for a job that requires expertise. Such skills include data analysis and multimedia skills. Identifying these will help you in your exploration stage.
    • Tap into your interests. Are you passionate to create a career outside of your interests? If you can manage to enjoy your interests in your line of work, then you can definitely boost your morale at work. If you’re eager to explore part-time work on the side, then that can also serve as an outlet for other passions. There’s a popular quote by Confucius that says, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Employee retention roots in the satisfaction in the workforce. Find that spark that will keep you grounded in your career and you will enjoy living every experience out of it.
    • Check-in on your values. Does your career align with your morals and values? Every person has their own sets of values and personality. But you can always find job opportunities that will fit you and make you feel motivated. Being passionate about something and being able to use it in your career track is an advantage.

People vary in personality types and work lives. But the more you learn about yourself, the more certain you would be on the track you want in pursuing your goals. 

career development

Identify your goals and set timelines

Career goals can be short and long-term. Progress validates every effort you’ve exerted in reaching your professional goals. So, one must outline their short and long-term goals to stay on track.

Some employers are very keen on goals. Impress them by having concrete goals in your resume and cover letter. By doing this, you can attract more career opportunities.

Every person can follow a system they feel comfortable with but the most common guide is to be SMART. This popular goal-setting measure has been a common practice for many career-driven individuals. Research shows that it results in a higher success rate in achieving goals.

SMART goals stand for:

    • Specific. Your goal has to be clear and precise. Have a specific period, position, amount, and steps so you have a concrete goal to follow. For instance, “I want to be successful in the advertising industry” is a vague statement. There are many ways you can achieve success and promotions so you must be specific. Instead, say “I want to be an Account Director at [company name] by the year 2025”.
    • Measurable. Remember that you are reaching a goal, so make sure it’s possible through time and effort. Have a measurable goal that you can track with progress so you know if you’re keeping up with your aspirations. For instance, “I want to be a Sales Manager” sounds promising but it lacks the push and direction it needs. Instead, say “I want to be a Sales Manager in 3 years”. It sounds more compelling because you follow a measure of time and a career ladder. For entry-level positions, this makes sense because it is achievable within a timeframe.
    • Attainable. You want to keep your hopes up, so you better make it attainable. Don’t level your dreams too low, and don’t level them too high. Goals should inspire you but it has to be realistic. For instance, saying “I want to be a School Principal after a year” shows ambition. But the position requires more than a year of experience and a postgraduate degree. Instead, say “I want to be a School Principal in 5 years with a postgraduate degree in {field of study}”. This makes it more attainable because it’s enough time to accumulate credibility. Research is also essential in this aspect. Read statistics on career growth rates to see your chances and gauge your plan.
    • Relevant. Don’t strain yourself by overworking. Perseverance takes you there but burning out in the process can derail you and lose your focus. Have a goal that lets you shine in the process without diminishing your motivation. For instance, “I want to be a Head Nurse in a year” sounds attainable if you prove your skill and expertise. But don’t exhaust yourself with overtime and extracurricular activities. Stay committed but don’t lose your focus.
    • Time-bound. Every step takes time. Learn when to start on a specific goal and when is the deadline. By keeping a timeframe, you get a sense of urgency and accountability to meet deadlines. If the plan is not working out, set new goals and timelines to meet your results. Be bold but stay true to your intentions and make sure you’re not lagging behind your dreams. It’s all about strategy and you take control of your actions.

Having a guide keeps you reminded that you’re on the way to achieving fulfillment. Keep the faith and always check on yourself.

career development

Make firm career decisions

After self-evaluation and goal setting, it’s time to make firm decisions. You have everything in your cards right now so lay it all out and see what works for you.

Decide on how you want to take your path. See the pros and cons of each path and weigh in on which are effective for you. Remember that the goal here is to carve your career path. It’s only natural that there’s no perfect path in the career development process. It’s never a straight line towards success but you can always find ways to reach it.

It also helps to research and hear stories of success from like-minded individuals. Make use of the trends on the internet. Go into social media for feedback and learning, and meet all sorts of people that can inspire you.

Execute your career plan

Avoid struggling with self-doubts and uncertainties. You’ve considered every option and came up with firm decisions so it’s time to put your foot forward. The world is always evolving. So whatever comes against your own career progression, be ready to face it as a challenge. Treat it as a hurdle in your ambitions that can make you grow even more as a person. Making a career is exciting because it’s the fruit of labor and determination. Live every moment of it, and the sweet success will follow.

Are you passionate about building your own career path?

Head over to Virtual Hub to learn more information in career planning and find resources to help you. Jumpstart your career today with us!


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