Sample Career Development Plan

(free worksheet and instructions on how to create your own career plan)

This sample career development plan will provide a great framwork for you to develop your own one to five year career development plan.

I have provided two career development plan examples plus a downloadable worksheet for your use.

How to Create Your Own One to Five Year Career Development Plan

Use the career development plan examples below as a guide for your own plan. Then use this blank career development plan template to input your own details.

This is one of the simplest and most effective career tools to get you up and running quickly with your career development plan.
If you have come to this page without knowing much about career development, see the ' what is career development' page


1. Download and print the career development plan template

2. Study the career development plan examples in the boxes below to get a feel for how your finished career development plan might look.
3. Using the guidance notes below and the sample career development plan worksheet above, set about creating your own career development plan.

Sample Career Development Plan 1:

Customer Service Assistant transitioning to Veterinarian or Vet's Assistant

Goal Title: Veterinarian's Assistant

Today's Date: 25/02/2017

Target Date: 31/07/2018

Date Achieved: ____________

Goal: Must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Relevant, Time Bound

I'm a 24-year-old customer service employee in a specialist retail chain.
After seeking some career advice, I have decided I want to transition from my retail customer service position to a Veterinarian career by 31/07/2018.

Personal Benefits from Achieving This Goal.
Why do I really want to achieve this career goal? Be very specific.

Since I was a little girl I have always had a love of working with animals.
As I was growing up and into my teenage years many people told me that a lot of young girls like dealing with animals but that I should not necessarily make a career out of it.

However this passion to work with animals has stayed with me right through to now. After getting some careers advice I am now convinced that this is what I want to do.

I do not particularly enjoy my customer service role.
My long-term goal [although not included in this career development plan] is to further my veterinarian career by becoming a fully qualified veterinarian.

Possible Obstacles and Solutions to the Goal

Obstacle 1. Other than working with my own pets and my neighbours, I don't have any significant experience with animals.
Solution 1. I will attempt to get some part-time and or voluntary work at a local veterinary clinic and/or at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Obstacle 2. I don't know how easy it is to obtain this type of job. What is the current job market like for veterinary assistants?
Solution 2. Arrange meetings with the two local vets that I have used previously and also Mike Renolds from church who is a veterinary surgeon.
Tell them of my plan to become a veterinary assistant and ask them if they could give me 20 minutes of their time to ask some questions about this type of work.
Make a list of questions to ask each of them.

(If you would like to receive a FREE pdf file including coversational flow-chart, on how to carry out these information interviews, contact me asking for the 'Information Interview PDF'.

Obstacle 3. The pay may not be as good as the job I'm doing now. If it isn't, am I willing to take a pay cut?
Solution 3. Ask Mr. Renolds what the pay scale is for veterinary assistants in the industry.

Steps Required for Achieving Career Goal
[each of these steps should include a target date, date reviewed and date completed: see sample career development plan worksheet for details]

1.Visit local vets and SPCA for volunteer/part-time work.
Arrange meetings with two local vets with list of questions regarding training and the job market situation etc.

2. After 6 to 12 months of volunteer/part-time work, arrange meetings directly with at least six vets in the city to discuss possible job openings. See accessing the hidden job market for further details.

3. Talk to vet at church [Mr. Renolds] about possible job vacancies and also get the names of any other vets he knows for networking.

4. Locate industry blogs, websites, podcasts, youtube channels, journals etc and subscribe to them.
(This is very important as you will be demonstrating to any potential employers that you are hungry for information and are a self-motivated learner. This impresses employers)

5. Create or update LinkedIn profile to show latest voluntary part-time and volutary vet work

This sample career development plan is provided as an example to help you create your own career plan using the downloadable sample career development plan worksheet.
Other goal setting and career development tools including career development software and career coaching are also available [see below]

Sample Career Development Plan 2:

Current Position: Call Center Team Leader, Government Employment Center

Goal: Branch Manager, Government Employment Center

Goal Title: Branch Manager

Today's Date: 25/05/2017

Target Date: 25/05/2021

Date Achieved: __________

Goal: Must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Relevant, Time Bound
My goal is to become a Branch Manager of the organization I currently work for within four years. [there are eleven other branches around the country, and I am prepared to move to another location if necessary]

Personal Benefits from Achieving This Goal. Why do I really want to achieve this career goal? Be very specific.
I enjoy managing people, being able to steer the ship more and I love the challenge of moving into greater levels of responsibility.
The excellent branch manager salary is also very attractive to me.
I also have a goal of owning my own business one day, and this will be a good stepping stone by giving me greater people management, budgeting and strategic planning experience.

Possible Obstacles and Solutions to the Goal

Obstacle 1: Current management may see my formal management training to be insufficient.
Solution 1: Discuss this with Mr. C. and consider management training from Institute of Management, funded by the department.

Obstacle 2: Not very proficient at budgeting/spreadsheets.
Solution 2: Research online study, ask Mel in the accounts department for some help. Investigate online Udemy course.

Obstacle 3: I may have a reputation in the organization for not being very good at managing conflicts with staff.
Solution 3: Investigate conflict resolution training and enroll. Read "Getting to Yes".
Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

Obstacle 4: Not sure what Mary [my wife] really thinks about the possibility of having to relocate if I get offered a Branch Manager's position in another city.
Solution 4: Schedule a real talk with Mary about this issue.

Steps Required for Achieving Career Goal
[each of these steps will need a target date, date reviewed and date completed which are not shown in the example below but are shown in the career development plan template download]

1. Arrange time with Mr. C. to discuss possible management training with Institute of Management.

2. Increase presentation/communication skills. Join Toastmasters.

3. Deepen my customer service training. Read "Secret Service" book and two other customer service books in the next 18 months.

4. Take online course or similar in budgeting/spreadsheets. Ask Mel if he can help.

5. Gain more self confidence around people. Lose 8 kg and enrol in gym membership. Investigate using a personal trainer.

6. Enrol in conflicts resolution online course to help deal with difficult staff situations. Read "Getting to Yes". Read or listen on audiobook Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

7. Organize career development coaching for one to two months each year to help me with this career development plan. Find out if my department will fund this.

8. Ask Leah Mitchell if I can run customer service excellence workshops for CES staff on monthly basis to enhance my teaching skills and customer service understanding. ["You really only know something if you can teach it to someone else", she used to say]. Check with her regarding budget for covering extra staff during these training workshops.

9. Discuss my aspirations and action steps with HR manager. (This step may not be appropriate if your organisation is not aware of your career goals or the nature of your relationship with the HR Manager or other relevant supervisor wouldn't support it)

This sample career development plan is provided as an example to help you create your own career plan using the downloadable sample career development plan worksheet.

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the above sample career development plan, it's time to write your own

Steps for Creating Your Own Career Development Plan

These steps follow the sample career development plan worksheet
[download here].

The first few items on the sample career development plan including: your career goal, title, today's date, target finish date and date achieved should be all self-explanatory.
The other details of the plan are as follows:

Sample Career Development Plan Goal

Your career development plan must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.

Your goal needs to be well defined. To be specific you need to ask the what, where, who questions about your goal.
Explain very precisely what it is you want to accomplish.

To be measurable, you must know without any doubt when you have actually reached your goal.
If the end result is not precisely measurable, you need to redefine your career development plan so that it is.

Your goal must be attainable.
Is it actually possible to achieve this?
There is a balance between shooting for the stars and pursuing something that is not really attainable. If it's probably not attainable, start with a smaller goal but one that is heading in the same direction but more likely to be attained.
Aim big but start small!

A career goal that is attainable by one person may not be attainable by another depending on their motivation, inborn job skills, and experience etc. Assess these characteristics in yourself first.

Have a close look at your goal.
Can you honestly say that you think it is attainable with the right amount of effort? If so, go for it.

A goal could be attainable but not realistic.
For example, it might be possible to become president of your Zimbabwe based subsidiary, but is it realistic considering that you have four young children in school and a wife that doesn't want to live there.
That might be an unrealistic goal even though it is attainable.

Is your goal relevant to where you want to be in your career long-term?
Is your goal relevant to who you are as a person and what you want to achieve in your life.
Is it in line with your worldview, core values and beliefs as a person.

Time Bound
Does your goal have time boundaries?
If it doesn't have a certain date by which it must be achieved, it probably won't be achieved.
Make sure you fill in the target finish date on your sample career development plan worksheet, otherwise you open yourself up to never ending procrastination.

Key to Success with Your Career Development Plan - Accountability!

One of the keys to success in achieving your career goals is to set aside regular appointments with yourself to monitor your progress. But more importantly you should implement some accountability around your career goals.

This could simply be somebody in your work environment who you are close to and you trust and will agree to meet with you to keep you accountable.

If this career development plan has been initiated by the organization where you work, then the person who will keep you accountable will probably be your supervisor, manager, etc.

If you are doing this outside of your organization's umbrella, you could perhaps use a family member or close friend who would be willing to meet with you on a regular basis [say once a month] to keep you on track. However, this is not as effective as a person more removed from you with little emotional connection.

Other important concepts used in a career development plan include:
  • Commit to ongoing learning and improving your natural abilities and bents. Think, industry expert blogs, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.

  • Commit to ongoing self-assessment. [Use the inborn job skills assessment]

  • Commit to becoming a good networker.
    Learn how to become a good conversationalist.
    Up to 80% of all jobs gained, come from the hidden job market.
    And most of these come through friends and contacts. This is an area you can't afford to ignore due to its proven success in obtaining jobs.

  • Use other career development tools.
    For example, you may find it beneficial to engage in some career development coaching.

  • If your career development plan involves self-employment, consider commencing a small business on the side to allow you to get a feel for running your own business while still keeping your day job.
    Many successful business people start like this.
    I was able to build this careers business in the beginning by creating this SBI website you are reading on a part-time basis.

Other career development articles you may be interested in:

Career development theory

What Is career development?

Career development tools

Career development coaching

Career development plan

Five year career development plan

Back to Career Development Articles from Career Development

Back to Career Change Advice from Sample Career Development Plan

Simon Davies Career Change Counselling
Gold Coast: Robina, Queensland Australia 4213
Phone Mobile (outside of Australia) +6148 1333 415
Phone Mobile (in Australia) 0481 333415
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