Establish Your Career Development Plan With These Steps
If you’re in the professional world or are just starting out in your career, you may have heard of a career development plan or career development goals. A career development plan is a long-term way to plan for your professional future so that you are geared toward your goals. But what is professional development and how can you begin planning for it? There are a number of factors to consider before you set professional development goals. Let’s take a look at some of the most important.
#1 Am I in the Right Field?
Before you can outline a career development plan, you have to ensure you’re in the right field. Remember that most college degrees and associates degrees are flexible. Don’t put yourself in a box to perform in one specific role if you’ve found that it doesn’t suit you.
If you like the field you’re in but not the job, think of ways to creatively cater your career development goals. Maybe that means going back to school to get another degree, or maybe it means seeking out a certificate to strengthen your resume. Once you’ve determined that you’re in the right field you can begin to build professional development goals.
#2 Write It Down
It’s important to write down your career development plan for a number of reasons. First, it forces you to put your goals into words and narrow them down, and possibly solidify the details. It also helps you visualize your career development goals. This way, the information is out of your head and out on paper where you can read through it when you need motivation or inspiration.
Just because you write down your career development plan, doesn’t mean it’s not subject to change. Life happens and you may be presented with opportunities you never expected, so keep your professional development goals fluid and be open to new pathways that lead you toward success.
#3 Identify Your Obstacles
An essential aspect of forming a career development plan is identifying your potential obstacles. While you can’t predict the future, it helps to outline some challenges that you are worried about that you can possibly plan for in advance.
For example, let’s say you’re concerned about asking for a raise. As part of your career development plan, consider taking a leadership course that will give you the skills to ask for what you want with confidence. Or block off an afternoon where you can research tips and tricks for asking for a raise. Even if this is a small detail among your professional development goals, making a conscious effort to combat this issue can make all the difference. If you write down your challenges, you can set yourself up to approach them with confidence and toughness. This is an important part of formulating a career development plan.
#4 Celebrate the Milestones
As you progress in your career and move forward in your career development plan, stop and give yourself kudos. Perhaps when you write down your career development goals, you can take notes of important milestones. Rewarding yourself for an important step forward is a great way to find and keep motivation.
Think of creative ways you can set milestone rewards in your career development plan. For a smaller step forward, such as earning a certificate, maybe you visit your favorite restaurant. For a larger milestone, like a promotion or new job, consider taking a weekend trip or buying yourself a gift you’ve been craving. When you consider and celebrate the milestones in your career development plan, you’ll keep yourself focused and moving in the right direction.
Now Get Moving With Your Career Development Plan!
Now that you have some tips to get started, you can move forward with setting and surpassing your career development goals. Make sure you’re in the right field, write down your goals, consider any obstacles, and remember to stop and smell the roses. Before you know it, you’ll be on a career path that helps you reach your dreams.
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