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November 2009
Building a Career Developmental Plan
By Bill Crigger

     There is an increasing need for individuals to take charge of the development of their own careers. Reasons include the rapid rate of change within companies, increasing knowledge and skills required, changing / shrinking corporate promotional opportunities, rapid changes in industries, and shrinking corporate training and development budgets.

     A solid self-assessment is the foundation for everything that you will do relative to a developmental plan. Your SWOTT analysis started this process. In order to develop a career action plan, you need to have a target to build towards. Answer these questions:

     • What is your ideal position in terms of responsibility now, three to five years, six to 10 years?

     • What skills do you need to get there?

     • How will you measure success?

     With these responses in hand, explore viable career options within your company (and perhaps externally).

The Plan:

     • Complete your self-assessment. Consider external competency assessments to help identify needed education, current skills that need development, skills that need to be acquired, and required training.

     • Develop your personal vision and long term goals (five years or more).

     • Access and view the company’s organizational business objectives for your area.

     • Create short-term developmental goals and develop an action plan to achieve those career and business objectives goals. An action plan is a career GPS map to get you from the starting point to the finish line.

     An example of a vision and long term goal may be to become COO. Short-term goals could include: 1. Obtaining an MBA; 2. Working in another division; 3. Obtaining a Project Management Certification; 4. Mentoring with a strong financial person.

     Develop timelines for accomplishment of action plan items. Identify the needed and available resources for plan implementation. Determine how you will measure your progress and identify success. Solicit a Board of Accountability for your Development Plan—mentors that can advise you along the way and help hold you accountable.

     Document all of your individual business and personal career objectives and results. You will need this data at performance review time. If possible, share your career development plan with your supervisor and Human Resources. Not only might the company assist with your plans, but they may offer other helpful suggestions.

     The career planning process is ongoing and should be reviewed from time-to-time. A well thought out and written career development plan will be a very useful instrument in your career success.

     Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm. Contact him at or visit to learn more about career SWOTT analysis.


Bill Crigger is president of Compass Career Management Solutions, a career transition and human resource consulting firm.
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