Career development and planning are all part of managing your career. Career development helps you take stock of who you are and the goals you want to achieve, while career planning follows by helping you to develop and document a path as in the steps identified in Five Steps for Success illustrated below. The diagram is followed by details of the activities usually involved in each step.
Assess Development Needs
An inspiring development plan starts with an accurate picture of the of the knowledge, skills and competencies requiring your attention.To assess yourself, recall feedback you have received on your performance review, along with comments from others. State your career aspirations, and specify the areas in which you feel proficient and confident, and those you do not.
Here’s a practical way to carry out your self assessment:
- Use the proficiency chart and record the level at which you are contributing in relation to each description. A simple colour code will serve:
- I am doing this successfully (shade box in green)
- I am currently developing this (shade box yellow)
- I have not given focus to this (shade box blue)
- Ask someone who knows your work to assess by using the chart in the same way, then compare results.
- If there are differences, where are they?
- Ask: What specific observations can you share?
- Ask: What could I have done instead? How can I best develop this behaviour/skill?
- Does the feedback you received cause you to reflect differently on the results of your self assessment?
- Update your self-assessment if necessary
- From your assessment, choose one or two opportunities for development based on your assessment. If there are several, rank them by priority. Record these in your development plan. If you are not already using a Personal Development Plan template, we suggest using one of the templates found here.
Plan Development Activities
Creating and committing to a plan of action will help translate your intentions into results.
- Consider how you prefer to learn:
- Doing: on the job activities, job aids
- Listening/Observing: observing others, watching DVDs
- Training: courses
- Reading: books, articles, briefs
- Refer to the Guide to see which learning methods best suit your preferred learning style or styles.
- Select one or two development activities to include in your development plan.
You can achieve your desired results sooner simply by following a plan systematically. Significant and lasting change will come your way from committing to learning and applying something new each week.Here are some tips you may find helpful:
- Focus on developing one or two new behaviours at a time
- Acquire new knowledge and/or a new skill then apply it your work; then learn more and apply that
- Practice, practice, practice whenever possible
- Ask others to observe and provide feedback to you on the new behaviour you are developing
To maintain focus and momentum with your development, take five minutes each week to review your plan. Ask yourself: What is working well? Where is there room for improvement?
Remember to take time to acknowledge the effort you are investing and the discipline it takes. You may not always be able to move at the speed you desire, so keep your focus on the overall progress and celebrate your success!
Two templates are offered to assist you in developing a detailed plan. Choose whatever template you prefer and modify it if necessary, or create your own. What is important is that you use a system that brings you results.