Career Development Plan Templates

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A career development plan template has much in common with a mission statement, a battle plan, a recipe, a blueprint, a check list, a cookie cutter, a map, a dossier, a personal information form, a skeleton, a confessional, a flow chart and a resume, without being identical with any of these. Like any other template, it provides a framework and frame of reference that, although abstract, general and one-size-fits-all, becomes highly personalized, customized, unique and useful when details are filled in and the template is fleshed out.

Its purpose is to describe, chronicle, formulate, evaluate, monitor and modify your career path-in terms of its process, terrain and goals-and its associated details, including resources, achievements, opportunity costs and ideals. Blending elements of self-evaluation, self-direction and self-revelation, a career development plan template, like a sincere confession, battle plan or map, can guide you past the pitfalls and minefields on a career path, no matter how unfamiliar or changing the terrain.

A career, like a health supplement, has to be formulated, evaluated, monitored and modified as experience and knowledge advance. A career development plan template is a tool that allows you to chart your career and its progress in a systematic manner, so that you can see for yourself whether you are on track to achieve your personal career goals. For example, do you know where you are heading or how fast, how efficiently? Where do you see yourself one year from now, five years or even ten years in your career? The career development plan template serves as a useful guide for you to formulate and evaluate your career milestones in a step-by-step process.

The template usually has several components: goals, education, skills, obstacles and solutions, and milestones. Here's a sample. Different templates will emphasis different aspects of a career-especially if one is job-specific and relative to one's current job, while the second is a "square-one" template for recent graduates. (The sample template, the Nova Scotia Government Career Development Plan 2006-2007, covers the job-specific scenario.)

For a literal start, you can state your career goals at various milestones, as well as your ultimate goal. It is best that you state your goal clearly and specifically. Over-generalization or vagueness will not help you to focus on the purpose of this exercise.

Secondly, in the area of education, fill in your educational background and the current educational level. Then compare this with your various milestones, and write down what educational qualifications might be necessary to achieve that career goal. For example, if you intend to achieve a managerial position, a M.B.A might be useful or even a prerequisite. Thirdly, do the same for the skills section. In addition, think about what new skills you might need to acquire to help you progress further in your career? Finally, for the obstacles and solutions, think about what kind of obstacles there might be to impede your career progression, including skill, experience and motivational weaknesses, and brainstorm about how you can address them.

As you can see, a career development plan template gives clarity to your career goals, and the rationale and reasonableness behind them so that you can better focus your efforts into achieving them.
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