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3 Examples of a Career Development Plan

 , May 08, 2019
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.
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 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.


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
Definition A document that identifies an individual's goals for their career and a series of planned actions that are intended to achieve each goal.
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