A Great Career Starts with a Career Development Plan and You!
A Career Development Plan in simple terms is a road map for your career, so you can be more confident in knowing you can get from Point A to Point B according to plan.
A Career Development Plan is a "written list of the short and long-term goals that employees have pertaining to their current and future jobs, and a planned sequence of formal and informal experiences to assist the employees in achieving their goals." José Adolfo Trueba, National Career Development Association
Purpose of a Career Development Plan
- Ultimately, the purpose of a Career Development Plan is to assist you in achieving their goals
- Helps to set realistic expectations of career growth by suggesting time frames for certain milestones to happen and identifying areas that you need to develop in order to achieve those milestones
A Career Development Plan starts with you taking charge of your career. You must begin to make wise career choices.
Rarely does a great career just happen. It’s the result of good career choices. Your career doesn’t have to develop by chance. There are those people who let life happen to them, and then there are those who make life happen for them. They take charge of their life and career goals.
Not planning your career path leads often to you being stuck in a dead end job that you hate. You wake up one day and say, "How did I get here? This isn't the life I wanted!"
But how do you find a career direction that you will actually enjoy?
It's a big decision. How do you land a job that your excited to wake up to each day?
The Journey Begins with Your First Step
In order to set yourself on a path to success, your career direction must first start with you. The biggest part of your journey will be spent exploring you. Long before you pack up and head out on your career journey, you need to spend time really getting to know yourself.
Trust me, it is time well spent. Life is so much better when you have an idea where you are going and how you plan to get there. There are enough surprises in life, so don't worry about taking away all the spontaneity. There will be time for unknown later, now is the time to think some things out. What are you passionate about? What are your interests? This discovery of your inner talents is essential to a successful career direction, because you must have a good grasp of your talents before taking even one step in another career direction.
Choosing Your Approach
There are a number of theories and opinions on the right approach to developing your career. Many of them all have good points. The approach I have chosen involves a 5 Phase Plan. I like it because it is simple, however it encompasses the 5 primary phases one should consider when developing their career plan.
The following 5 Phases listed below are helpful in making sure you make the right decisions, regardless of if you are just starting out on you career, or if you are simply exploring career options or changes. Your choices can have an significant impact on your opportunities and your overall satisfaction, so consider them carefully.
This is your career we are talking, so take some time with this. Do your research. Explore options. Talk to people who have careers that interest you.
When developing your career development plan do your research. Ask lots of questions. Put on your detective hat and just be a sponge. You may be surprised what may connect with you.
You are going to need an effective plan founded on proven principles and strategies. Each phase in developing your career plan, offers something important to the success of that plan.
If you skip steps or rush through one of the phases, it may come back to bite you later. Bad career choices can really get you off track. It is going to take some work, but if done right, the reward can be amazing!
Successful Careers Take Strategy
"Successful careers rarely “just” happen, rather they are the result of determined people with a strong personal brand and an effective career development plan."
5 Phases to Developing Your Career Plan
The 5 Phases to developing your career plan involve assessing yourself, exploring potential options, then developing the skills you need to be a top performer that delivers results. Let's look a little closer at each phase.
Phase I - Assessing Self
The goal here is for you to take some time to take a good look at yourself and assess your strengths, interests, and natural abilities. What are your skills and abilities? Do you have some things that you're naturally good at, even though you don’t have formal training? What are your passions? What are the things that you enjoy doing that you rarely get tired of doing?
For many people this is one of the hardest steps. It can be challenging to look inward and do all of this self-reflection, but it is vital to your future success.
If you aren't one of these person's that knew what they were going to be since they were 9 months old, then make it easy on yourself by using some great tools to help you discover yourself.
To continue learning about this first phase, go to: Assess Yourself
Phase II - Exploring Options
In this phase you will take what you discovered in phase one and begin to apply that information by allowing it to provide you some direction in terms of career options. If you put in the effort and did the work in phase I, you should have some clues to begin exploring. You want to find a career that allows you to use your strengths and is inline with the things that motivate you. By finding a good match, you set yourself up for success.
This is also the phase to allow yourself to dream. Think of it this way, If money wasn’t a factor, what would you like to be doing for a career?
What captures your attention? How would you like to spend your time? Do you have any interests or passions? Do you want expensive things, or are you more happy with less things, but more travel? Do you want to be behind a desk, or would you be more excited about a job where you interact with people all the time? Do you need a job where you feel like you really make a difference in someone else life? What are your goals?
Ask professionals you know about their jobs and what they had to do to get where they are and what it takes to be a success in their job. You can learn a lot about a job this way. You may find out real quick that there are jobs that you in no way want to do. That's good. Checking off things of your list is very helpful in narrowing things down to what you could really find yourself being happy.
Phase III – Developing skills
Analyze your skills and identify any gaps in your abilities. By doing a head-to-toe assessment of your skills and abilities, you will be able to compare your skills to the required skills of the careers and jobs you are interested in pursuing.
You will begin to identify your skills gap. Some skills may be easy to acquire, while other skills may require a considerable amount of time. For example, if the job calls for someone to have skills in Microsoft Word, you could easily learn that skill via online tutorials or a workshop. However, if the job calls for a proven history of sales accomplishments, and you only have some retail experience, you will need to set some goals to gain sales experience.
If this isn’t something you are willing to do, then you will need to adjust your career goals and begin to focus on jobs without that requirement.
The bottom line in this phase is you want to get a realistic perspective on what your skill gap is and what it will take to get to the point you want to get. I don't want to see you get really frustrated with yourself 10 years from now, because you chose a career path that realistically can't get you to your goal.
If your goal is to have big houses, fast cars, and world travel you may want to know early on if your chosen career path can deliver those kinds of rewards.
Once you have a clear assessment of your strengths, interests, and natural skills, you will want to determine the skills you will need to develop to perform the career you have chosen, then get a plan on how you will get those skills.
Phase IV – Build Your Personal Brand
Building on the first 3 Phases, you should see themes begin to surface. Skills and interests may begin to be able to fit together like a puzzle. This phase is where you begin to pull everything together and package it up with a bow on it! Your objective in this phase is to build your personal brand by aligning everything you have learned behind a focused vision of yourself.
This phase can get really exciting because things really begin to make sense. You begin to actually see the potential of your dreams. You will craft your marketing tools like, an elevator speech, resume, and online profiles.
It won't be long till you are ready to introduce the world to the Brand Called YOU!
Phase V – Deliver Results
You’ve focused your message around a solid understanding of your unique value, which is based on your strengths, passions, and abilities. Now, it is your time to step out and demonstrate your brand. Now is the time to make a difference. All of your hard work, planning, and determination will finally pay off. This phase is all about putting your strengths and your natural and learned skills to the test. This is your moment to shine and reach for your goals.
You're On Your Way
A well-thought-out career development plan will prove to be a very useful tool. You've gone through the career planning process carefully choosing a suitable occupation. Setting goals and planning what you need to do to realize them will insure that you reach your career destination.
If you need some help getting started in developing your career plan, we can help get you pointed in the right direction and offer you the support and resources you need to do it right.
Read more about Phase 1: Assessing Yourself
Or, if you are still unsure about everything, Contact Brent Wells, Executive Personal Brand Strategist, to schedule a free phone consult. This is not a sales call, rather it is a time for you to gain some action steps to make sure your next steps are the right ones.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask for Help
My experience has shown me that many people need some help with Phase 1. It can be tough doing it on your own. I have my clients take a minimum of three assessments:
- A General Needs Assessments
- DISC Behaviors & Motivators Profile,
- 360Reach Brand Assessment.
I have found these each provide insight into the kind of information needed to help clarify your career focus and direction.
I would be happy to speak with you briefly concerning your current goals and situation. Maybe I can help point you in the right direction, if you are struggling with this step. No charge. Or, if you know you need some help, we can discuss some options that may fit your needs and budget. Either way, please don’t hesitate to email me. Request Information
Say It! Communications is committed to providing you resources to help in your research. Each step of the way, we have helpful tools to help clarify your goals and inspire career opportunities. Call now to speak with someone about how we can help you reach your dreams.
Assess your strengths, develop your skills, design your portfolio, and build your network in preparation for putting into place either a successful job search or promotion plan.