Tips to Make Your Career Development Plan Work

Career Development is a favourite topic on the agenda of employees and their managers. Career development plans are created at the start of the year and then put on back burner till the year end or next formal performance appraisal. What can you do to avoid getting into this trap and use it to propel career growth and pay raise.

The following tips are provided to help you ensure that your career development plans are relevant and reflect the skills and capabilities you want or need to build in a world where change is the only constant!

Does the Career Development Plan work for you?

At the end of the day, it’s your development and your career. You are responsible for proactively ensuring that your development is in line with your own performance expectations or career aspirations.

Prepare in advance

Most of the employees feel that they are in grip of their career and walk in unprepared for the career plan review meetings with their manger. The discussions are generally vague with a lot of feel good factor and no solid action. Knowing your manager very well cannot be the excuse for not having prepared for the meeting.

Is the Career Development Plan still relevant?

The world economy is undergoing major changes and global cycles are shorter and deeper, it may make sense to validate some of your goals against the economic reality, industry needs and your current job responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, it does not mean changing the goals every six months; however it may need alteration for maximum career benefit.

Is the Career Development Plan achievable in time frame set by you?

It is your career and you set the pace for your developmental goals with a timeline, what is the fun in setting goals which are not achievable in a set time and giving yourself a too big a stretch every time. Take a tough look at the time-lines, You can increase the pace over a period of time. My advice would be to start slow and build momentum on the way, A great career is a marathon and not a sprint race.

Does it incorporate recent developmental feedback?

You may have gained new insights in your working style which helps you see your strengths and limitations in a better way. In case the recent feedback is important for you to grow in career, make sure you incorporate it in the career development plan.

Do you have a new Manger?

In case you have a new manager it may be good to run your career development plan with him, make sure you tell the current plan has been set in consultation with your old manager and you would review the progress with him quarterly. After a six month period your new manger would have settled down and you should sit review the plan with him intensely. You need to align the thoughts / goals of your manger’s role with the plan.

Make optimum usage of resources at hand

Both time and money are scarce resources in the modern corporate world. Take the time to review your manager’s coaching efforts to date, and see if they are aligned with your career developmental plan. If you wish to make changes to your development plan, you should be prepared to discuss how your manager can best help you achieve any new goals

Make sure that your career plan balances current performance expectations with future career aspirations and challenges you to build on your strengths. Always remember that there will be resources which you want and never get, maybe due to economic factors or your mangers visible or unstated constraints. Make best use of what you have readily available and not what you continue to fight for. Successful people make career out of what they have on hand and seldom squander energy on what they cannot have.

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