50+ Sample Career Development Plan

What Is a Career Development Plan?

A career development plan is a detailed list of the short-term and long-term goals an employee has. The account concerns the worker’s present and future careers goals, together with an organized sequence of experiences that assists employees in fulfilling their dreams. These objectives must rely on the individual’s strengths and capabilities. Proper career planning focuses on a person’s definition of their personal and professional goals concerning possible future professions in their career. Remember that career planning is centered around the employee and their potential and not around the company. However, despite being employee-centered, the work relies on both parties and benefits both in the long run. A career development plan doesn’t stop at a single planning stage but must be updated throughout an employee’s career.

Based on LinkedIn’s resource report entitled 2018 Workplace Learning Report, roughly 94 percent of employees would stay at their present company and current jobs if it invests in their career path. However, it proves to be challenging for employees to find opportunities to focus on developing their careers because of time constraints.

Methods of Career Development

As it is a life-long and continuous process, career development is a growing and everchanging manner that provides employees with a plan about their growth and development in their careers. Below are the methods of career development that are essential to all workers.

Training: In this method, a combination of lectures, exercises, videos, podcasts, simulations, and assignments allows employees to further their skills towards career development. The processes can either be through formal or informal training sessions. It is also worth noting that each of these methods caters to the particular needs of the organization. In training, employees must actively participate and work on their skills throughout their careers, especially in the roles they perform. The training method is perfect for addressing the soft and hard skills of employees.Task/job rotations: Employees can request temporarily exchanging roles with colleagues to explore and put new experiences into practice. The company can also initiate the activities for their employees and encourage job sharing for those showing interest in developing their skills. The purpose of the rotation is for employees to learn something new or to practice recently acquired skills. Practice stretch assignments for employees to grasp the skills they want to develop. These can either be horizontal or vertical. Horizontal is allowing the employee to use new skills with additional tasks similar to their current role. Vertical assignments focus on extending an employee’s role into other responsibilities outside their duties. This method is best for training flexibility and adaptability.Coaching: Coaching involves senior members of a team or the team manager helping newer employees. This method is very hands-on and ideal for improving technical and analytical skills. Coaching is also the most convenient way for employees to acquire interpersonal skills like leadership, team management plan, and conflict resolution.Mentoring: Mentoring is similar to coaching in some ways. The difference lies with experienced employees, no matter their level in management or status, mentoring less experienced. Mentoring is used to acquire high-level skills like sample strategy management, critical thinking, and long-term visual articulation.Workshops: Workshops provide a range of communication activities that develop the soft skills of employees. It allows employees to interact with people within and outside the organization. The knowledge comes from gaining new insights and open communication plan on each of their team’s best practices. Simulations: Simulations are in the form of roleplaying activities of real-life events relating to employees’ everyday roles. It is effective in dealing with conceptual knowledge because it allows them to apply these concepts in real-world activities through exposure and comfortability in handling tasks. Simulation help develop soft and hard skills as well as social skills.Self-study: Acquisition of knowledge and skills through individual activities like reading, researching, and classes are part of the self-study method. The abilities they learn through self-study do not necessarily relate to the organization’s needs or their roles. It can relate to the skills they want to achieve future goals. In self-studying, employees can develop their creativity and research skills.

Components of a Career Development Plan

An effective career development plan must actively involve the human resource department to develop an efficient system for the organization. A combination of individual career planning and organizational career management achieves the best result, and it is what most organizations use in their career planning strategies. Below are the components of a career development plan.

Self-assessment tools: It is a career exploration tool that allows employees to complete self-assessment exercises listing their skills, interests, competencies, roles, and responsibilities. Employees also indicate their short-term and long-term goals and potential obstacles they see themselves facing in the future. Through this, employees identify and understand their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes.Capabilities: Knowing your capabilities is imperative in career development. Having an understanding of your strengths and skills and the combinations that best work for a person allows them to maximize potential and performance. Goals: The thirst for a successful career starts from the beginning without variations from the initial purpose. It helps individuals to visualize their goals, set standards, and stay true to their mission statement. For individuals shifting professions or changing careers, the goals they set serve as their strength in learning and developing other skills. Career counselors: Another way of confirming if a particular career path is for you is by consulting a career counselor. The role of a career counselor is to analyze your abilities and skills and answer any career-related questions. The counselor guides an employee through a variety of career paths that suit their talents and interests by defining job analysis functions. They also help individuals to decide on the best fit for them.Inclination: Part of the career development plan takes into account career tests or aptitude tests. The tests inform participants of the field that best fits their skills and interests and can showcase their full potential. It has become a popular method for companies to give aptitude tests to their employees to indicate the team or department where they can be successful and effective. It helps individuals to focus on changing careers, especially if their current job feels stagnant and unfulfilling.Choosing the right field: Choosing the right career that matches your standards, strengths, and capabilities is of utmost importance. Before starting your career, ensure you have time to complete sufficient research about a job’s demands. It is also safe to consider your family demographic in choosing a career path. In terms of career changes, guarantee you have enough financial resources to support your move. It’s necessary to align the field you choose with your interests for the passion not to die down along the way.

How to Create a Career Development Plan

In the beginning, creating a career development plan may be a daunting task, especially if it is the first time. Do not fret because once you have a clear picture of where to start, it will be an easy process. Just remember that a career development plan involves a starting point, destination, potential obstacles, and an ideal route. Below are the steps that can help you create a comprehensive career development plan for your employees.

Step 1: Identify Employees Ready for Career Enhancement

Start your plan by creating an employee list of potential candidates for advancement. These employees are your high performers or those that showed their passion, grit, and potential in the job they are performing. It is helpful to get advice from team managers or project heads to support your list of employees that will benefit in the career development process. Remember that not all employees are ready to have a career development plan. Underperforming employees gain more from performance improvement plans because it focuses on improving their current competencies. Once the employee list is complete, you can proceed in tailoring a system suitable for each candidate.

Step 2: Meet With Employees and Set Expectations

Upon completion of the list of employees, it is necessary to inform them of the standard process. Alert them by sending an email letter or booked schedule on the company calendar for a quick meeting to go over the plan you intend to implement for their development plan. The first meeting should go over an in-depth consultation with the employee that goes over everything written. After that, schedule another appointment a week or two after the initial to give the employee time to prepare. It is necessary to ask what the employee plans on doing 1-3-5 year plan. Also, inquire about their dream role and ask for a job description of the position. Allow them to include ideas that will benefit their career and ask any further questions about the plan.

Step 3: Personalize the Plan According to the Employee

It is essential to tailor the plan based on the particular employee. Begin by identifying the professional and personal goals for the employee to attain their full potential, whether short-term or long-term. Remember that they must stay close to their respective roles and experiences. In the plan, you can recommend seminars to attend, new skills to learn, new projects to work on, certifications to get, and other opportunities. No two career plans are the same since employees have different backgrounds, experiences, capabilities, and aspirations.

Step 4: Welcome the Idea of Revisions

Certain situations may arise from creating a career development plan. One of them is an employee deciding that they want a different career path from the initial idea. The employee must put much thought into the idea of transitioning from one career to another. Even so, you can still work with a career development plan for them. If an employee decides to shift to a different career path, it is best to obtain proficient input from the department. Prepare a generic list of ideas and career development smart goals for the revision of the current plan. In this way, you can continue to work with restructuring the program to fit the employee’s current career aspirations.

Step 5: Create and Follow Through an Actionable Plan

After finalizing the career development plan with an employee, it’s necessary to get things started. During the plan’s implementation, allow your employees to come and approach you to discuss ideas or update you on their progress. You serve as a resource for them to explore their interests further towards their career goals. Take the initiative in meeting your employees to show you care about their development. Track the progress of each employee undergoing career development and update managers on their progress. Your words may not guarantee their job promotion or salary increase, but you can put in a good word to people that can make it happen.


What is the purpose of a career development plan?

The principal purpose of a career development plan is to assist employees in achieving their professional and personal goals. An organization also increases the possibility of retaining employees because they realize the employer and the management recognize their needs and help them to reach their goals. Even though a career development plan is optional, it is commendable to offer your employees the opportunity to improve their skills. It shows the company realizes its short-term and long-term goals and objectives, supported and aligned with managers, making sure they are achievable.

Why should you invest in your employees?

Employees leave their professions and companies from feeling undervalued and lacking professional development plan and growth opportunities. Do not let your skilled and experienced employees leave the company. Find the time and resources to invest in your employees’ career development to keep them around longer, keep them happy and appreciated, and help them better their skills to improve their performance.

What are SMART goals?

In every goal-setting arrangement, it is necessary to keep in mind the use of SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound and serves as a guide. Incorporating SMART into professional or personal goals helps create a clear, attainable, and meaningful goal that leads an individual’s motivation, action plan, and support they need to fulfill the objective.

A career development plan is essential in any organization. It benefits the employee, not only in achieving their professional goals but also their personal goals. For the organization, it reduces the turnover rate of employees and allows a positive relationship with them. It is necessary to offer the plan to all viable employees as it gives them room for growth and development that improves their skills and aids with production and quality of work. In the words of Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric, “Before you become a leader, success is all about growing yourself. After you become a leader, success is about growing others.” For a company to succeed, establishing a positive culture and relationship between employees and employer is essential. Help your employees grow by using and downloading career development plan samples found above.