Career Plan Template (A Comprehensive Guide)

Planning a career and making the long term career plan is just like planning a long term road trip from one place to the other.

In the case of a road trip, we need to get some things in advance like the knowledge regarding roads and which are the ones we need to take to reach our destination.

Also, the mode of transportation is also important whether we are going to use a bus, car, motorbike or something else is also of importance.

Similarly, a career plan template  is also like a road trip, the main difference being this as the roadmap related to our career.

As it is with the case of the road trip we need to get some knowledge in advance before making our career plan template like what we are aiming for, what timeframes are we willing to follow to reach our goal, which direction we might head into, etc and also the tools and methods that are needed and will help us to reach our goals which can be some special skills, qualifications, work experience, etc.

Career planning can be taken as a continuous process which consists of the following steps: 

  • Thinking about your values, preferences, interests, and skills.
  • Exploring the work, learning, and life options that might be available to you.
  • Make sure that your work is in alignment with your personal circumstances and preferences.
  • Keep fine-tuning your work and always be open to learning new skills and things that can help you in changing your world of work and life when needed.

This process can be revisited throughout your career to make your career plan template more thorough and continuous.

There are two important steps prior to writing a career plan template. 

Know yourself: 

The first step towards making a career plan template is to know yourself and your weak and strong points.

Begin with different questions regarding yourself like where are you now, what are you aiming at and what are the steps you can take to get there.

Once you know about the level you are at present and the goal you are aiming at, you can then work out steps that can make you know about your values, skills, and interests better.

The first step is to ask yourself questions which can help you ponder about your skills and interests, some of these questions are:

What level am I at right now?
Where do I want to be ?
What are the benefits I want from a career or a job ?
What are the things I like to do ?
What are my weak points ?
What are the things I am strong at ?
What are the things that are important to me ?

There are multiple tools that are available nowadays to assist you in exploring your interests, skills and strengths.

You can find these tools online on the internet and can use them to explore yourself a little better, some of the examples of such tools are mindtools – career skills, career center, etc.

When you will go through this exercise, you will have some idea if not a full grasp of what your strengths and interests are and what are your individual preferences and what type of work or goal you are aiming for.

This information can be used by you to form up your own wishlist which can be used later on to compare all the information you gather in the next step about yourself.

These personal preferences are very important and useful for you to make decisions and choose the career plan path that you wanna take based on your own interests.

Find out:

 This step involved the exploration of the learning areas and the occupations you are interested in.

Once you get some idea about the career preferences that you have, you can start researching the specific qualifications and skills that are needed for those jobs.

Some of the steps involved in this step are:

  • Look for the jobs that are of interest to you and ask yourself the question that how your interests and skills will match up with these jobs?
  • What and where are the gaps present in your presentation skills and the ones that are needed?
  • What skills do you need to have?
  • What are the best ways to gain those skills and qualify for those jobs?
  • Where is that work?
  • At the end of this step, you might be able to make a list of your preferred jobs or the learning options that might help you in attaining your desired jobs.

Before you start writing a career plan template, you should take a look at and understand The Social Cognitive Career Theory.

Your career is yours to make and not your employers so if you want to have better earnings and to progress further in your career then hoping and waiting for it is not a winning option. Take control of your own career and accept ownership of it and start working towards building it up.

Personal career plan template not only increases your immediate prospects but it also gives a boost to your long term potential.

If your employer thinks you are doing a good or an excellent job at some post, they will try to keep you at the post and will prefer you there, however, this will hinder your growth and you will remain stuck there.

So if you are doing an excellent job at some post then this is the time that you should start looking for a bigger role or more challenging ones where career planning will help you out.

Timing should be near to perfect and is everything when changing careers.

Impulsive and emotional decisions might end in risking you to leap into some job which is not suitable or good for you.

The next move you take should always be a positive step from your current one but you can always remain opportunistic about your work.

Making correct decisions regarding your career plan template can ensure that you can measure the real values of the opportunities that come up to you.

Some of the individuals that do a career plan, basically just love to plan things out whereas some others just do it for the sake of finishing things up.

In both cases, the plan is basically useless unless and until it is executed and also executed at the right time and in the right way.

Career planning must be enjoyable and simple but should also be effective for you in seeking your career and planning out your goals and aims.

Why have a career development plan?: Career Plan Template 

One of the well-known mantras is ‘Plan to fail, fail to plan’, so planning about your career is a must-have.

However, stopping midway or just stopping after your career plan template can deny you access to some serious level of personal motivation so it is also important to execute your plan.

Some of the things involving a career development plan can help you have some backup plans.

Insurance. Nowadays the arrival of new policies and changes of bosses and reorganizations occurs abruptly.

So using and building a career plan can also help you protect your value.

If your role in the company is still there then you will keep your job even ahead of your peers.

Investment. Career plan also increases the earning potentials not only in long term periods but also in short term and medium time period.

Changes in current trends and keeping up with it are your opportunities. Alternatively, if you are also looking for opportunities somewhere else, a career plan can also help you to look for advertised jobs that are right up your alley and not looking for jobs blindly.

Security. Nowadays we live in a time of uncertainty where there is a threat of redundancy all the time.

Following a path that focuses on your development will ensure that you are not static and are keeping up with the new trends and are a rising start and not a person who is stuck at one point in time.

How to develop a career plan: Career Plan Template 

Developing a career plan is the necessity of the present times and it is for the benefit of yours as it helps you to keep track of the skills you already have and the ones you need to acquire and the steps you can take to get those skills and the jobs preferred by you.

The steps you can take to immediately take charge of your own career are:

Step 1 – Assessment. The first step is to identify and to know at what position you are currently at and the scope of your current role, achievements, and responsibilities.

Take into account your strengths, experience, interests, qualifications, and values.

Be open about the job you will like to have in some year’s time and will love to work at.

To plan for five years ahead is a solid career plan template but you can tweak the plan according to the time period that suits best for you. 

Step 2 – Documentation. You can document all of your plans and make paths which can help you in achieving your goals, if you cannot execute the plan and take those steps towards your goal then all of this is not your career plan template but just a dream.

The document should be your action plan that will help in accelerating your growth and progress over time.

Step 3 – Management. Work ongoing through the actions that are needed to be done, see if it is to put together your resume or look for new ads regarding your jobs, finding a training course or looking to bolster your experience, start working at it as soon as possible so you can take the steps needed towards your goal.

Career Development Plan (Created – [insert date]): Career Plan Template 

Review & Revision Dates – [date 1, date 2 ….]

Goal role = [This is the role you will love to have in a five years time period. Be specific about the role of the job, its scope, title, responsibilities, about the type and size of the organization, and what will be the things you will enjoy about this position.]

Stepping Stone Roles = [These are the in-between roles that will enable you to build up your career in a progressive way towards your main goal, raking up achievements and experiences on the way. Be specific about the roles and details related to them.]

Current role = [Make a list of responsibilities that you have in your current role, the achievements and experiences that you are gaining, and what is your next target regarding them. Also, make a list of your weaknesses and the things you need to cover.]

Action Steps = [Write down the steps you need to take to cover up your weaknesses and to learn new skills.]

I’m Right For This Road Because … [Make a list of your strengths and the points that explains why you really enjoy doing the job and why you are the best fit for it, also see if there are more skills that you can acquire related to the job.]

Additional Training Required = [Identify the program or courses that are needed to acquire new skills, it might include reading books to broaden your horizons and deepen your experiences.]

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FAQ about Career Plan Template 

How do I write a career plan?

Writing a career plan is mostly based on the following steps:
Step one: Set up your main goal, considering what you like to achieve after a solid time period let us suppose in five years. Set your macro goal. 
Step two: Set up your micro-goals or stepping stones that you are gonna take to achieve your main goal.
Step three: Make those micro-goals attainable.
Step four: Make the steps that can make those goals realistic and achievable.
Step five: Make those goals time-restricted.

What should be included in a career plan?

A career plan is a strategy that helps you evaluate your current strength and what you are aiming at and help you realize the gap in between.

It must include your current strengths, the goal you are aiming at, and the steps you are gonna take to reach there.

References (2017): “How to Create a Career Development Plan”

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