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Tips for Starting Your Career Development Plan


Include an up to date copy of your CV – it’s easier to keep your CV current if you add new skills, projects and achievements to it as you go along.  This is a good starting point for your career planning as it helps you to review your career path so far, and provides an at a glance picture of where you are at the moment.

Keep copies of job descriptions, appraisals and reviews, work objectives etc.  These will provide the nuts and bolts of your career planning, and you can look back over them to see how you have changed and developed from job to job, and year to year.

Gather evidence of your achievements and times when you have done a job particularly well and received positive feedback.  This may be letters or emails from your boss or colleagues praising your work, sales or budget figures, or samples of work you have produced.  Not only will this boost your confidence and remind you of your successes, you will have these examples at your fingertips in interviews, or in that all important appraisal when you want to impress your boss.

Start collecting copies of job ads that interest you - Even if your longer term goal is to stay within your current company, this will help you to identify the kinds of roles that attract you, and you can start to build up a picture of the skills and qualities you’ll need for those roles.

Think about what motivates and demotivates you – what you like and dislike doing.  Try to analyse your strengths and weaknesses, in terms of your skills, qualities and experience – be as objective as possible, and base this on third party feedback where you can.  Write all this down, and review it periodically – your motivation and strengths and weaknesses can change, particularly if you are aware of them and take steps to address them.

Set yourself short, medium and long term objectives in relation to what you want to achieve, and make sure these are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound.  It’s important that you include short and medium term goals in your wider career plan to keep yourself motivated.  For example, if your long term goal is to become Managing Director, which could take you ten years, you need to break this down into smaller chunks so that you can see that you are moving closer to this goal.  So you might set a medium term goal of gaining two years’ middle management experience, or a short term goal of attending a leadership training programme within the next two months.

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