Example Career Development Plan

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An example career development plan helps illustrate how a plan might be put together. Below are two sample career development plans based on hypothetical situations.

I'm very much a "show me" kind of a person, and I like to see case studies and examples of how other people do things. If you are too, then this page will show you what an example career development plan could look like. This will give you some ideas about how to structure your own career development plan.

Example Career Development Plan #1

The Situation: Sarah Smith loves helping people. Specifically, she enjoys helping people in need. After 10 years of working as an administrative assistant for a mid-size company, she made a decision to become a Registered Nurse. Sarah works as a volunteer at a local hospital, and has talked to many of the nurses who work there. She understands what's involved in being a hospital nurse, and looks forward to the day she will turn her dream into reality. Here is an example career development plan for Sarah:

Name: Sarah Smith

Goal: Registered Nurse

Current Education And Experience: Associate's Degree in Business Administration

Current Skills: Administrative, ability to multi-task, excellent communications and writing skills. Expert knowledge of MS Office programs. Knowledge of hospital procedures.

Objective #1: Research Associate Degree programs at 2 local schools. Meet with advising offices to find out program requirements, class schedules, transfer eligibility, and financial aid information. Decide which program to attend.

Target Completion: Dec. 31, 2014

Objective #2: Complete and submit application and financial aid requirements for admissions to nursing program.

Target Completion: June 1, 2015

Objective #3: Begin nursing program.

Target Completion: January 2016

Objective #4: Take RN licensure exam (and pass!).

Target Completion: February 2016

Objective #5: Begin job search (update resume, create cover letter, prepare for interviews) and start new career!

Target Completion: September 2016

Example Career Development Plan #2

The Situation: Shelly Jones has worked for the same company for five years. She consistently receives good performance reviews, and knows her job well, but has been unable to break into management. Shelly believes, that given the opportunity, she would make an excellent manager. She just lacks the management experience that always seems to be required for any positions that become available. Here is an example career development plan for Shelly:

Name: Shelly Jones

Goal: Manager of Billing Department

Current Education And Experience: Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Major in History, Minor in Finance

Current Skills: Understands billing process and procedures, expert in MS Excel and company billing software.

Objective #1: Find out what's needed to successfully become a manager in the company. Meet with immediate manager and HR Specialist to let them know of desire to become manager, and any tools the company may have to assist with the goal. Borrow and read books on leadership from the public library for insight and motivation. Take any leadership or management training offered by the company.

Target Completion: February 2015

Objective #2: Gain management experience. Volunteer to fill in for manager when he is out of the office. Take charge of smaller projects in the workgroup. Become the "go-to" person for others in the department. Help newer employees in the group by training and assisting them with issues. Track and report 3-5 personal or team accomplishments to immediate manager weekly. Volunteer for leadership position in neighborhood association, church, civic club or local non-profit agency. Continue reading books on leadership and see how principles apply to different situations.

Target Completion: Ongoing; at least 6 months experience before applying for open management position.

Objective #3: Apply for open management position within company. Update resume, cover letter, and prepare for interviews focusing on management experience and skills. If no open positions within company, may need to seek employment elsewhere or wait for open position. Continue searching for right opportunity.

Target completion: August 2015

Use the above example career development plan case studies as a guide for your own plan, but know that you can approach your own career development plan different ways. You could include your ultimate goal in your initial career development plan, or you could approach your plan in phases. You can also be as detailed as you want.

For example, perhaps you'd like to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but first you'd like to become Director of an operations department. On one hand, you could devise a plan with the ultimate goal of becoming CEO, and all the steps you need to take to get there. If this approach seems a little overwhelming, you could break your plan up into phases, and only include the objective of becoming Director in your initial plan. You would revise as you accomplish some of your initial goals, kind of like eating an elephant one bite at a time.

The choice is yours! Many experts recommend developing a 5 year career development plan. This is enough time to accomplish many of your objectives, without becoming too overwhelming or distant.

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