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WORKING IN REVERSE: Why You Need a Career Development Plan

The best way to achieve a goal is to plan for it. If we want to get fit, we develop a diet and weight loss plan and exercise routine. If we want that well needed rest for our bodies, maybe we schedule some “me time” or a spa day. So if we want to be better professionally, why not create a career development plan?

What is a Career Development Plan?

This is simply a roadmap for your career with a destination, travel stops, and a starting point. It captures the goals you want to achieve and the actions you will do to get there. Notice that I wrote it in reverse. I believe this is the best approach to career development planning because we start with the end in mind.

It is said that managers should have one-on-one meetings to create and monitor an employee’s career development plan. But suppose the last thing on your manager’s mind is helping you draft a plan that could end with you leaving the company? Suppose you’re the manager? And what if you’re an entrepreneur or investor? We do not need to wait until someone decides to formulate a plan with us. We can take the initiative and begin writing one for ourselves.

Where am I going?

Since we are working in reverse, let’s begin with the first of the three: the destination. This is the hardest part. But I have a reflection question that could help you think this through. “If you are 90 years old and you look back at your life, what would be your greatest professional regret?” Your answer to this question will tell you where you do not want to be. That way, you will know where you really want to be. If you know the answer to this question, what are you going to do about it?

How do I get there?

Zig Ziglar said, “If we aim at nothing, we will hit it every time.” This is why our roadmap will have travel stops along the way. These are the specific goals we need to accomplish to arrive at our destination. The good thing is this part gets easier. We can search for someone who is in the career we desire and ask them what they did, research the necessary qualifications and experience, and make a budget. The ideas and options are endless, and you should be as creative as possible.

Where am I now?

We are at the easiest and final part of the career development plan process. Take an honest look at your current position, industry, and area of focus. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and everything you bring to the table. Write it all down. Your current position is the result of past lessons and achievements. In the words of Danielle LaPorte, “Pull over to the side of your journey and look how far you’ve come.” You’re at a great place!

Now is the time to take responsibility and be intentional with your choices for your career and professional development.

About Kerry-Ann McPherson

Kerry-Ann McPherson is a Christian leader, author and blogger who is passionate about holistic growth in herself and others. She considers herself a student of life, because every situation and person she meets is an opportunity to learn something new. Like John Maxwell, she believes that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. She loves to journal, dive into romantic or suspense fiction novels, and listen to film scores. She resides in Jamaica with her husband, and is the Project Manager at VBD and Managing Editor at VBD Magazine. At the end of her life, she wants to know that everything God stored up inside of her was poured out by loving others and walking in her purpose.



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