Your career development plan
Where are you going with your career?

career development plan

A career development plan is about your vision for the future.

But where should you start? What sort of things will you need to consider?

If you are in an established career, what has happened in your career so far will have a significant influence on what you decide to do next.

If your career is just starting, or perhaps you're still deciding what to study at college, you might be better advised to get started with a career interest test, or perhaps even career aptitude test to assist you in your career development planning.

Career development plan
Carry out a career review

This activity is for people in established careers.

To do the following exercise effectively you will need to create a simple worksheet - either handwritten, or create a MS Word document, or similar, on your computer.

Put the following headings on your worksheet:

  • Job Title and the dates you were employed in this role
  • My reasons for taking this job
  • What I most enjoyed about this job
  • What I enjoyed least, and the major frustrations I experienced in this role
  • Why did I move on from this job?

Fill in the details for each position that you've held, starting with the oldest position/s first. Write a brief sentence or two about what was involved each position.

Career development plan
Career analysis

Now it's time to add some extra headings to your worksheet so that you can do an overall analysis:

Review areas of career satisfaction

Make a new heading "Career satisfaction"

Next, consider all the positions you've written down in your worksheet. Can you identify which jobs, or parts of some of your jobs that have been the major sources of job satisfaction for you? Reflect on:

  • Is there some element of your work you particularly enjoyed? What made it so enjoyable?
  • Was it the working conditions?
  • Did your manager, or the management style have a positive influence?
  • Was it the people with whom you've worked?
  • Was it just the job itself.....the focus of the role?
  • Can you identify parts of jobs you really looked forward to doing? Why did you enjoy these tasks?

From these questions are you able to identify any common patterns or themes emerging from your career history? Write some comments about patterns you can see in relation to your level of job satisfaction.

Review areas of career dissatisfaction

Make another heading on your worksheet "Career dissatisfaction summary"

Considering all the positions you've held in your career, what have been the major sources of job dissatisfaction for you. Consider:

  • Is there some element of the work you particularly disliked?
  • Was there some element of the working conditions that you disliked?
  • Was it the impact of your manager, or the management style?
  • The people with whom you've worked?
  • The focus of the role?
  • Parts within each role you've had that you particularly disliked?
  • Jobs or parts of previous jobs that you found difficult to do, and disliked doing?

From these questions, write some comments summarising any patterns or common themes you can see regarding your level of job dissatisfaction.

Career review - Final questions

What are the implications of your major sources of job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction on your future career objectives?

If you are considering a career change opportunity, have you clarified your reasons for making a career change - are you doing this for the right reasons?

Career review and analysis

There's a saying along the lines of "people who forget the past are condemned to repeat it".

The previous exercise can be particularly helpful to you in setting career objectives and clarifying your career change motivation.

The idea is look for a role which contains those elements that have contributed to your past job satisfaction.

And obviously - avoid roles that contain elements that have contributed to job dissatisfaction for you in the past.

Career development plan - life style analysis

There are 168 hours in a week. You will sleep for 56 hours if you are an 8 hour a night sleeper.

That leaves 112 hours that can be used at your own discretion.

Most people will either want to, or have to, spend some of those hours working. But, most of us also have other priorities and commitments in our lives which requires further decisions about how to use our time.

In putting together your career development plan it is essential that you consider your career objectives and career choices in the context of other needs that you have in your life.

Therefore, as a part of your career development planning for your ideal next career move consider how many hours of your week that you would like to use in the following areas:

  • Key personal relationships - time spent with your spouse or partner
  • Family time - that spent with your children, your parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family
  • Social time - being with friends
  • Physical well being - time spent on exercising, keeping fit
  • Mental well being - taking time out for you
  • Spiritual well being - participating in activities related to your spiritual self
  • Self development - time required for further education or study

Career development plan - your career objectives

Based on a review of your past career and life balance priorities you are now in a much stronger position to establish your career objectives.

You should clearly define your job or career change opportunity by writing your career objectives down.

Here are some suggested headings for this:

  • Title of the position you are seeking
  • The industry or field in which you would like to work
  • The major functions you would carry out in your new role
  • The size of the organisation in which you'd like to work
  • The approximate geographic location of where you will be working
  • Describe the organisational culture and values of your next employing organisation
  • Describe the management style of your ideal next manager
  • What total level of remuneration are you seeking
  • What other things need to be taken into consideration in your next position

Career development plan - next steps

Now that you've a quite specific statement of your career objectives you are well placed to carry out targeted career research of your next job or career change opportunity.

You can, as a result, do quite specific job searches for advertised positions.

Similarly you can now also embark on a targeted job search networking strategy.

If you are in an established career this is most likely how you'll identify your next job or career change opportunity.

You may already know this important fact - that 60-80% of the work that is available is not advertised. These jobs in the hidden market are filled through networking.

Career development plan - Summary

The process that has been described here is not complex. Rather it consists of some common sense steps and a range of questions that will help you to fully explore:

  • The benefits of any career change opportunities you are presently considering
  • Your career change motivation
  • Your future career objectives - the conditions and features of what you'd really like in your next career move

New! Comments

Has this helped you in your job search? What else would you like to see here about job search? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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