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3 Examples of a Career Development Plan

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A career development plan is a document that identifies an individual's goals for their career and a series of planned actions that bring the individual closer to each goal. The following are illustrative examples.

Performance Improvement

An individual who feels they have been underperforming or who has been informed of underperformance via performance feedback may shape their career development plan to communicate a commitment to improve. This may forego lofty career aspirations with goals that are valuable to the employer. A career development plan can also be used to ask for the support you need to improve such as training, coaching and work assignments.

Career Development Plan - Performance Improvement

Long Term Goals
Gain recognition as a top performing member of the front desk team.

Current Objectives
Improve customer service skills and performance.

Required Support
Attend customer service training.
Training fee
Time from schedule
Successful completion of training.
Improve customer service acumen and performance.
Feedback and coaching from managers.
Customer satisfaction scores and feedback from customers.
Gain management experience
Delegation of responsibilities such as managing customer complaints when the shift manager is on break.
Feedback from customers and shift manager.
Gain experience at the concierge desk.
Assignment to the concierge desk.
Feedback from customers and the concierge manager.

Note: a career development plan should not be confused with a performance improvement plan.


It is typical for a career development plan to set goals for advancement such as promotions. Advancement goals are designed to be realistic but ambitious. Care may be taken not to upset your employer by setting goals that indicate you are likely to quit. In some cases, an individual will also avoid any suggestion that they are after their bosses job. However, if your boss is confident and high performing they may view themselves as being in a higher role soon and may not feel threatened by your goal to have their job.

Career Development Plan

Short Term Goals
- Develop leadership abilities
- Build relationships across the organization and industry
- Gain experience as a software architect

Long Term Goals
IT management or senior architect role

Action Plan
Lead development teams
Develop software architecture, project leadership and planning capabilities.
Feedback from stakeholders including project team, project manager and sponsor.
Complete software architecture training.
Complete training in areas such as enterprise architecture, software design and DevOps.
Complete at least two courses this year.
Represent team with stakeholders.
Build relationships across organization.
Complete 6-12 presentations to business units this year.
Attend industry conferences
Build relationships across industry.
Attend at least 2 conferences this year and gain at least 20 new contacts.
Complete a systems inventory and audit.
Develop management related skills such as analysis, reporting and stakeholder management.
Successful delivery of audit.

Career Change

A career development plan for a career change may document extensive long term steps such as education and opportunities to gain new experiences. For example, a project manager who has gained approval to transition a sales position might need extensive coaching before being able to fully change jobs. A career change may also involve wrapping up any responsibilities you have in your current role.

Career Development Plan - Career Change

Short Term Goals
Wrap up project management responsibilities and transition to a full time commissioned sales role.

Long Term Goals
Leverage my management experience to transition to a sales management role.

Completion Date
Learn about our products and services to be able to make presentations to customer and answer their questions.
Knowledge transfer sessions with presales product experts.
January 27, 2030
Gain experience in front of customers.
Work with a mentor in the sales team to improve my selling skills.
June 30,2030
Complete sales training.
Attend solution selling training and workshops.
July 30, 2030
Transition my role to new hire.
Onboard the new hire with everything they need to know to handle complex IT projects. Support them on an ongoing basis for a period of 6 months.
August 20, 2030
Transition to new role.
Fully transition to sales role by taking the lead on a number of opportunities.
August 30, 2030


A career development plan should not be confused with performance objectives. A career development plan is about your progress as a professional and need not be measured with business relevant metrics. In many cases, actions are measured by completion of a development activity such as training.
Overview: Career Development Plan
A document that identifies an individual's goals for their career and a series of planned actions that are intended to achieve each goal.
Related Concepts
Next: Career Plan


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