How To Create A Career Development Plan: Examples + Templates – 2024!

blog thumbnail 6

Career development plans are more than just aiming to get the next promotion or landing a better job. It demands a strategic effort and an intentional approach to laying out the steps one wishes to take in their professional life.

Career developments bring about serious self-reflection, goal-setting, and continuous learning in the process. Individuals who actively engage in their career development will be better equipped to seize opportunities, deal with challenges, and chart a course toward their success.

Especially in modern-day times where everything is changing at such a fast rate, career development plans are more important than ever and require more attention to detail.

Similar to talent mapping, career development plans are a valuable tool for creating a roadmap for professional growth that helps highlight strengths, weaknesses, and aligned aspirations.

Follow along to see which steps you need to take to implement career growth plans into your professional life to ensure growth and long-term success in your career, and take a look at examples and templates of career growth plans that you can customize!

Why Should You Have A Career Development Plan?

A career growth plan is a very powerful tool when used right. It helps empower individuals to take control of their career direction and beyond the obvious benefits of goal-setting and skill enhancements, career development plans provide a sense of purpose.

By grasping your short and long-term goals through career planning, you will create yourself with a strategic compass, a career path, that will guide you through a competitive and slippery world. Career growth plans are also important to invest your time and other resources in the right places that will help you succeed the most.

As career growth plans encourage continuous learning, it enhances individuals’ resilience and overall abilities. They create a sense of proactivity in approaching careers as a whole which in return helps individuals become more in tune with talent development opportunities and align better with their career goals.

How Do You Create A Career Development Plan?

Now that we have gone over what career growth plans are and why they are important, let’s take a closer look at how you can design one for yourself and what steps you’ll have to take in the process before we move along to employee development template and examples.

how to design career development plans step by step

1. Identify Career Goals

The first step is to have a clear understanding of yourself as a professional and your development goals. Once you know more you can start articulating short-term and long-term goals.

One thing to take note of here is to make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). SMART Goals will help you advance in your career in a structured and strategic way that keeps you thriving for more but still rewards you in the process.

Break down your larger goals into smaller and manageable steps to ensure an easier process to track and help you stay focused on your overall objectives as you take your journey day by day.

Start using Microsoft Teams to manage your goals!
No sign-up required.
Teamflect Image

2. Assess Skills and Competencies

In addition to identifying your goals and objectives, an integral part of individual development plans is knowing your skills and competencies. By assessing and seeing your current status, you’ll have a better idea of what else needs to happen for you to achieve the goals you set.

Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, values, and interests. At the same time reflect on how they have assisted you in your achievement thus far. This will make it easier to highlight what areas need more growth.

As you see more clearly in this aspect, and as you identify more of what satisfies you professionally, this introspective perspective will provide you with a realistic and strong basis for you to design your career development plan.

3. Action Plan

The next step is to put into words your realizations from the retrospective approach previously, into a step-by-step action plan to follow day-to-day.

This plan can include acquiring new skills or developing existing ones through training or education, seeking mentorship, networking with other professionals in your industry, and actively going after any relevant opportunities for growth.

When thinking about your action plan, don’t forget to include what you believe are potential obstacles on your way and devise strategies to tackle them in case you need to. A well-rounded action plan will help make your goals a reality and keep you organized in your career development journey.

4. Review & Adjust

A career growth plan is not simply one document set in stone and never to be reviewed again. It’s an ever-evolving process as you take steps to grow via your career growth plan. As you evolve, your plan should do the same.

To ensure that you are on track, make sure to review your career growth plan consistently by using tools such as the 9-box review, to keep your steps in check and ensure they still serve a purpose for your growth.

Be open to adjustments when necessary, especially based on new opportunities or discoveries about yourself. Don’t forget to utilize appraisals during the process of employee development plans, to keep motivation high.

If you can implement an adaptable nature into your career growth, then you can truly succeed in the long term. Without fine-tuning your experience in growth as you improve, you can miss out on even better developments.

Regular self-reflection and tweaks here and there are vital if you wish to maintain a dynamic and sustainably effective career growth plan.

Career Development Plan Template

If you’re looking for a way to start yourself out on your own career development plan, we have a template for you that you can download!

Career development plan template

You can also create your own career development plan inside Teamflect! Teamflect is an all-in-one solution to performance software.

An app that was designed for Microsoft Teams, that has all of your needs under one place just a click away. You can use Teamflect to keep yourself or your team accountable for their career growth, create tasks and goals, and evaluate progress through performance reviews.

Looking to streamline your performance reviews?
No sign-up required.
Teamflect Image

Career Development Plan Examples

In addition to a set template for a career development action plan, we’ve also taken the liberty to give you examples inside this article so that you can also see an example plan that’s already been filled out. Take a look at the following examples;

Sample Career Development Plan 1: Software Engineer

Set Clear Goals:

  • Define short-term and long-term career objectives.
  • Short-term goals might include mastering a new programming language or framework.
  • Long-term goals could involve becoming a technical lead or software architect.

Assess Current Skills and Interests:

  • Reflect on current programming skills and interests.
  • Identify areas of strength and weakness, such as programming languages, frameworks, and technologies.

Continuous Learning:

  • Enroll in online courses, workshops, or boot camps to enhance technical skills.
  • Attend industry conferences and seminars to stay updated on emerging technologies and best practices.
  • Consider pursuing certifications relevant to the field, such as AWS Certified Solutions Architect or Google Cloud Professional Developer.

Gain Experience:

  • Seek internships or entry-level positions to gain practical experience.
  • Contribute to open-source projects or build personal projects to showcase skills.
  • Collaborate with experienced professionals to learn from their expertise.


  • Join professional organizations and online communities related to software development.
  • Attend networking events and meetups to connect with peers and potential mentors.
  • Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn to build a professional network and showcase achievements.

Seek Feedback and Mentorship:

  • Solicit feedback from peers, managers, and mentors to identify areas for improvement.
  • Establish relationships with experienced professionals who can provide guidance and support in career advancement.

Career Advancement:

  • Explore opportunities for advancement within the current organization or consider switching to roles with higher responsibilities.
  • Stay proactive in seeking new challenges and responsibilities to further career growth.
  • Continuously reassess goals and adjust career development plans accordingly.

Sample Career Development Plan 2: Marketing Manager

Define Career Objectives:

  • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) career goals.
  • Short-term goals might include mastering marketing analytics tools or obtaining certifications in digital marketing.
  • Long-term goals could involve becoming a marketing director or launching a successful marketing consultancy.


  • Evaluate current skills, strengths, and weaknesses in marketing.
  • Identify areas of interest within marketing, such as digital marketing, brand management, or market research.

Continuous Education:

  • Take courses or pursue a degree in marketing, business administration, or related field to enhance knowledge and skills.
  • Stay updated on industry trends and best practices through reading industry publications, attending webinars, and participating in workshops.

Gain Experience:

  • Seek internships, entry-level positions, or freelance projects to gain hands-on experience in various aspects of marketing.
  • Volunteer for cross-functional projects within current organization to broaden skills and expertise.


  • Build a strong professional network by attending industry events, conferences, and seminars.
  • Connect with peers, mentors, and industry leaders through networking platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Join professional organizations such as the American Marketing Association (AMA) or Digital Marketing Association (DMA) to expand your network and access resources.

Seek Mentorship and Feedback:

  • Identify experienced professionals in the field who can provide guidance and mentorship.
  • Seek feedback from supervisors, colleagues, and mentors to identify areas for improvement and development.

Career Advancement:

  • Pursue opportunities for advancement within the current organization or explore roles in other companies that align with career goals.
  • Develop leadership and strategic thinking skills necessary for higher-level positions.
  • Continuously evaluate and adjust career development plans to align with evolving goals and market trends.
Manage performance inside Microsoft Teams
No sign-up required.
Teamflect Image

Written by Deniz Imer

Deniz is a content writer at Teamflect. She is obsessed with organizational behavior studies and loves writing/thinking about how a carefully designed people strategy can transform a company.

promotion interview questions thumbnail

10 Best Employee Promotion Interview Questions & Answers!

career advancement

Career Advancement: Definition + Examples + Career Timelines