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Thinking about career change
Is it better to commit to the wrong thing than to commit to nothing?

Free Template Plus Career Development Plan Examples Provided

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

This sample career development plan provides a great framework for you to develop your own one to five year career development plan. I have provided two career development plan examples below, 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 my what is career development page.


1. Download and print the career development plan template

2. Study the career development plan examples 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: 25/02/2019

Target Date: 31/07/2020

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 career 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 neighbors, 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 Reynolds 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 conversational 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. Reynolds 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]

Sample Career Development Plan #2

Call Center Team Leader at Government Employment Center Transitioning to Branch Manager With Same Employer

Goal Title: Branch Manager

Today’s Date: 25/05/2019

Target Date: 25/05/2024

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 courses.

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 a time with Mr. C. to discuss possible management training with the Institute of Management.

2. Increase presentation/communication skills. Join Toastmasters.

3. Deepen my customer service training. Read the “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 enroll in a gym membership. Investigate using a personal trainer.

6. Enroll in conflicts resolution online course to help deal with difficult staff situations. Read “Getting to Yes”. Read or listen on audio-book 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 a 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 the 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 organization is not aware of your career goals or the nature of your relationship with the HR Manager or other relevant supervisors 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.

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

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 ideas used in career development plans include:

Other career development articles you may be interested in:

This content was originally published here.

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