4 Critical Elements for Your Career Development Plan

young lady typing on keyboard of laptop in living room

Are you starting to think about your career and where you might want to go?

Maybe you want to move into a leadership role or have a career change and enter a brand new industry. Regardless of what your job goals are, you should start putting together a career development plan.

The mention of a development plan can unfairly be associated with disciplinary action. However, a development and improvement plan is designed to help you reach your goals. It should be something that both high performers and staff needing additional support should have.

But what should you put in a career development plan? If this is your first one or if you need a refresher, then make sure you include these four components.

1. Where Are You Now in Your Career?

Before you can figure out where you’re going, you need to take a look at where you’re starting from. What is your current skillset, and does it match the job you want? You should also work out what gaps you have and what you need to work on.

The most important step is asking yourself if you’re heading in the right direction. Are you looking to move into a new role for the right reasons? Is it something you want to do, or do you feel like it’s natural evolution? You should be passionate about moving into a new job. Being sure helps you on the next element.

2. Where do You Want to go in Your Career?

Now that you know the starting point, the next step is understanding the desired destination. Are you looking for a leadership role, or would you rather spend the hours in the day doing something completely different?

The key aspect to remember is that this is not set in stone. Part of your career development plan is that you’ll continue to review and evolve it as your desires and preferences change. However, you should start with a clear goal so you know where you need to focus your efforts.

3. What Steps do you Need to Take to Reach Your Destination?

Next, you’re going to start thinking about the areas you need to work on for the benefit of your career. A great start is to take a look at job ads for the role you’re interested in. If you can get your hands on a job description, even better.

Match the skills and essential requirements against your current experience. Where do you exceed expectations, and what do you need to work on? This will help fill out your career development plan and give you some direction.

4. What is the Path You’re Going to Take?

Once you’ve identified the areas you need to work on, you need to decide how you’re going to do that. Will you complete a course, or is there a better way to improve yourself? You might want to consider taking on a mentor or even connecting with some people in the role you’re after on LinkedIn.

There is no single path that will lead you to your destination. You have plenty of options to choose from. The key is finding an activity that you’ll enjoy doing, and that will deliver the desired results for your career development plan.

What Resources to Use With Your Career Development Plan

A career development plan can be helpful in getting you where you want to go. It’s not something that you should wait for your leader to discuss with you. It should be a document that you drive and bring up with your direct manager so they can provide guidance, advice, support, and access to resources.

One of the resources you should be using is the Better Boss Blog. It provides tips and tricks on how to improve your leadership skills. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.

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