February 16, 2021 Last updated February 16th, 2021 666 Reads share

5 Steps to Create an Effective Career Development Plan

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With the onset of technology and the need for change to adapt to this high-paced technologically, analytically, and logically advanced world—your job profile could end up being different from when you started to where you’re currently at your job— or even irrelevant— in the years to come. How to avoid a situation where your experience or skill set is “behind the times?” That’s when a career development plan swoops in— you need an excellent career growth plan so that your dream of career development does not stay a dream but turns into reality. 

What Is a Career Development Plan?

A career development plan consists of short term or long terms actionable steps that you perform to achieve your goals. Career development planning is a key to stay relevant amidst the continually changing world. It is a series of steps where you document your career growth goals, track the required skill and experience you need to develop or acquire to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your professional career development.

Why Do You Need a Career Development Plan?

As discussed earlier, career planning guides you from where you’re in your career to where you want to go. But career planning does more than giving you direction. It makes you aware of your strengths, highlights your weaknesses, skills, and knowledge that you possess, and might need to upscale to reach your end goal.

Navigating your career towards achieving career growth is not an easy journey. Still, career growth planning ensures that the right steps are taken at the right time, ensuring you don’t stray off your path to professional career development. Not all of us can decide what we want to do and where we see ourselves in our career ahead. So it is imperative to plan out things. In simpler terms, a career development plan is a roadmap that guides you in your professional journey about where you’re to where you want to go, and how you can go there.

So what are the ways to create an effective career development plan for successful career growth? We are here to help you—following are some helpful steps to guide you in career planning:

Know Your Weaknesses and Strengths

To know where you want to go, you need to know exactly where you’re in your professional journey. Self-reflection is a simple but vital step in understanding what experiences you had, skills you possess or the education you’ve had to fill out the gaps in your experience, skills or even education. Once you know them, you can easily see what you can offer for successful career growth and what you need to obtain in the near future.

Define Your Goals

Develop a list of your interests and skills values to draw your long-term or short-term goals. It would help if you had a clear idea about what you want from your career and what career growth means to you. Is it about getting a promotion? Your dream job, or does it mean you need to have a specific set of technical and soft skills before you design a career development plan. If you don’t know where you want to go and why you can’t expect a smooth career growth journey.

Research Like Anything!

After you’ve pinned down your end goal, the next step is for you to figure out what you need to do to reach that end goal. Do you need to learn some new skills or earn some training certifications or will only networking amongst your peers or with some subject matters experts be enough to provide you with the required exposure? This research will help you settle for a specific resource, be it a person, place, or organization you’ll use to reach your goal.

Map Out Your Action Plan

Your action plan is not just a list of steps that guide you to reach your goal but also a list that helps you stay focused, organized, and track your growth. Tick off this to-do list as you complete your tasks but ensure that it is practical and accommodates your weaknesses and is also based on your strengths. Balance your action plan in a way you can amend it as you need as at times your goals might change with time and that’s okay, but you need to be prepared if it happens. 

Own Your Professional Journey

You’ve got a plan in progress, you’re committed, persistent and driven to achieve your career development and career growth. However, there will be times that your actions are not bearing wanted results; in that case, don’t give up yet. Just be proud of whatever you’ve achieved, learned and experienced so far. Remember if Plan A didn’t take you to the destination you wanted, you’ve Plan B or even Plan Z. Driving yourself to a successful career is a difficult journey but not impossible.  


Advancing your career doesn’t take some sort of superpowers; it just needs you to be motivated, determined and persistent in following a few key steps to achieve your professional career growth.

You might face challenges and hurdles along the way to your end goal and sometimes face unforeseen circumstances, but some strategies can turn those hurdles into success stories. Always remember nothing is beyond your reach as long as you work hard enough and follow your career development plan diligently. 

Creating a career development plan will help you map out how to reach your career’s next stage, so never give up and start on your career planning, right away!

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William Hills

William Hills

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