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How to Create a Goal-Oriented Career Development Plan (Template + Tips)

With a career development plan, you can organize your career goals and identify your individual pathway toward success.

[Featured Image] A woman is sitting at a desk pondering into the distance while holding a pen to her mouth.

A career development plan, also called a professional development plan, is a document outlining your career goals and the path you can take to reach them. It’s traditionally been a tool that a human resources department or people operations team uses to help employees recognize and pursue growth opportunities within their company. However you may find it helpful to create a career development plan independently as you consider what you hope to accomplish with your career.

In this article, we’ll go through the basics of a career development plan, offer some guidance on creating one, and discuss how you might find support as you work toward your career development goals. You’ll also find a template to help you get started.

Career development plan overview

Having a plan as you work toward your goals can help you connect your daily actions to your big-picture aims, set realistic growth expectations, and recognize milestones. Being clear and intentional about what you’re working toward can motivate you along the way.

In writing your career development plan, you’ll name your goals, assess the skills you already have, and determine the skills you’ll need to develop as you move forward. 

Career development plans often include sections for:

A summary statement

Short-term goals

Long-term goals

Current skills

Developing skills

Action items, such as continued education or trainings, professional development opportunities, or potential work projects

Learn more: How to Motivate Yourself: 10 Tips for Self Improvement

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Creating your career development plan

As you work on your career plan, remember that your career path is going to be unique to your skills, development process, and goals, and your plan should reflect your singularity.

By the time you finish writing your career development plan, you should be able to confidently assess your starting state, your goal state, and ways you can start bridging the two. Here are some steps you can take to create your plan:

1. Think about your current position. Where are you in your career? What do you enjoy about your job?

2. Consider your goals. What does your dream career look like? What do you want to do more of, and what do you want to delegate to other people?

3. Analyze your skills. Consider both the skills you already confidently possess, and the skills you’ll need to develop in order to reach your goals. Read job postings for roles similar to your goal career if you need ideas.

4. Brainstorm your resources. Who can you turn to for support? What growth resources can you access? Does your employer offer any career development programs?

5. Write an action plan. You know the skills you need to develop and your resources—consider both as you prepare to take action. What steps can you take to progress toward your goals? Creating a timeline for your action plan can help you stay on target.

6. Work toward your goals. Start making progress on your action items. Try new approaches, make revisions, and seek guidance and support as needed.

7. Track your milestones. Working toward your goals and building new skills is hard work. Don’t forget to celebrate your wins!

Career development plan template

To get started, try filling out this career development plan template . Adjust the sections and format to fit your needs, and return to your document over time to add or edit sections as you make progress.

In the Adapting: Career Development Specialization from Macquarie University, you’ll evaluate your approach to self-guided change and design a career path that fits your values, interests, and goals.

Finding support for your career development

Your career goals may feel personal, but that doesn’t mean you have to pursue them on your own. In fact, your interest in career development planning is good for your employer—companies that partner with employees on career growth tend to improve employee retention and decrease turnover. So, if you’re comfortable letting them in on your plans, you can foster a mutually productive relationship by seeking support within your organization.

Some people within your company who may support your career development might be:

Your manager may be willing to assign you projects or offer opportunities that can directly support your goals.

Your HR or People Ops representative may have additional tools available to support your growth.

Cross-functional colleagues whose role or work style you admire may be willing to let you assist on upcoming projects if your goals relate to their line of work.

If you aren’t comfortable sharing your goals with anyone within your organization or if your goals don’t pertain to the work you’re currently doing, you can also seek support elsewhere. For example:

Mentors and people you admire from previous jobs or school may be willing to share insights they’ve learned along the way to help guide you toward progress.

New connections you meet through networking events or informational interviews may be open to staying in touch as you make progress on your goals.

A career coach can help you assess your career path and come up with ways to move toward progress.

As you work toward new career goals, consider earning a Professional Certificate from top companies like Google, Meta, and IBM on Coursera. Gain job-ready skills in areas such as UX design , social media marketing , and cybersecurity in approximately six or seven months.

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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  • Career Planning

How To Develop and Write a Career Action Plan

A career action plan is a roadmap to your future

Dawn Rosenberg McKay is a certified Career Development Facilitator. She has written hundreds of articles on career planning for The Balance.

career action plan template for students

Choosing an Occupation for Your Career Action Plan

Goals: the foundation of your career action plan, how to write your career action plan, frequently asked questions (faqs).

The Good Brigade / Getty Images

A career action plan is a roadmap that will guide you from the starting point in your career to a place where you feel like you're truly advancing. For example, a career action plan can help you choose an occupation and then guide you to getting a job and advancing in your career. Also referred to as an Individualized Career Plan or an Individualized Career Development Plan, a career action plan will help you reach your career goals .

Key Takeaways

  • A career action plan is a roadmap that guides you to where you want to be in your career.
  • Choose an occupation to craft your career action plan around, and then set goals that you want to achieve.
  • The timeline for achieving your career action plan goals should start with your short-term ones and end with your primary objective.
  • Be flexible—your career action plan can always change.

The first step in developing a career action plan is choosing an occupation. You can follow the career planning process in order to identify which occupation you want to have as a career. There are a few steps to follow.

Self Assessment

Try several different self-assessment tools to learn about your values, interests, aptitudes, and personality type. Your goal is to identify a list of suitable careers that match these traits. Ideally, there should be between 10 and 15 occupations on your list.

Career Exploration

Now that you know what occupations are suitable based on your self-assessment, begin exploring the ones that interest you. Don't do an extensive investigation into every single career on your list—only ones that are real possibilities deserve that sort of attention. For the others, read more about them before eliminating them from your list. The occupation that appears on the surface as something you wouldn't like could end up being the one that interests you the most.

Dig deeper into the careers that you would consider pursuing. It's smart to narrow down your list to three to five occupations.

Make a Match

Armed with information about several careers, begin to make a final decision. Think about the pros and cons of each of your options. Consider job duties, educational requirements , earnings, and job outlook. Not only must you enjoy your work, but it also has to support your lifestyle financially and should have decent job prospects. It is also imperative that you be able to fulfill the educational requirements. Choose the career that, based on this data, is the best fit for you.

Now that you have chosen a career, it is time to set goals that will make up the foundation of your career action plan. Include short-term objectives which you can reach in under a year and long-term ones that will take from one to five years to achieve.

A career action plan is different than a simple list of goals. It also includes all the steps you will need to take to reach them.

You can follow these steps to set goals for your career action plan:

  • Make a list of every career goal you might want to achieve : Remember this is your list, and no one is judging what you put on it. These goals can be small, like getting a positive review from a boss, and big, like making a six-figure salary one day.
  • Categorize your goals into short-term goals and long-term goals : Applying to college or a training program, for example, will take less than one year to do, so put that on the short-term goal list. On the other hand, getting your degree or finishing the program is generally a long-term one that could take four or more years.
  • Identify barriers that could threaten your ability to reach your goals : There is likely to be something that comes up along the way. Considering what that could be and how it could impact your career action plan is important. You can then figure out if and how to overcome those challenges. If you can't find viable solutions, you may need to reformulate your goals. If, for instance, you have a learning disability that could impede your ability to earn a degree, find a college that provides students with resources to help them succeed.

Finally, it's time to write your career action plan. Your timeline for achieving your goals should start with your short-term ones and end with your primary objectives, such as getting your first job or being promoted to a certain title and salary. Some people find it helpful to begin their plan at the end with the primary objective. You could state the goal that will take the most time first, and work your way backward, putting a plan in place for how you could achieve it. There is no hard and fast rule, as long as your plan is easy for you to understand and follow.

List each of your goals and indicate how long it will take to achieve each one (just estimate the timing to the best of your ability).

Then, beneath each goal, write a bulleted list of every step you need to take to achieve that goal. In this bulleted list, you should also state the barriers that might get in the way, along with workable solutions for overcoming them.

Your career action plan should be flexible. Don't be afraid to make changes to it as you go, such as adding more short-term goals to the plan.

After you're done writing your career action plan, follow it. Set aside time on a weekly or daily basis to review it and the steps you need to take to reach your goals. You can even make a career action plan alongside a friend and then check in with each other every week. The important thing is to hold yourself accountable and take action on the plan.

Once you reach your primary objective and goal, you can start all over with a new career action plan.

What is a career action plan?

A career action plan is a document that outlines your plan and strategy for achieving your career goals. It can guide you from landing your first job to leveling up to the C-suite, if that's what you want to do. It's also known as an Individualized Career Plan or an Individualized Career Development Plan.

Why is it important to have a career action plan?

It's important to have a career action plan because it can help you achieve your career goals. It outlines smart steps that you can take to reach your career potential. From landing your first job to becoming a manager, a career action plan is a roadmap that you can follow so that you can advance in your career. Setting goals like this can help you reach milestones in life that you're proud of.

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Penn Law. " Career Advancement Minute: Setting Short-Term and Long-Term Career Goals ."

American Psychological Association. " Setting, Elaborating, and Reflecting on Personal Goals Improves Academic Performance ."

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Make a Career Plan

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A career plan lists short- and long-term career goals and the actions you can take to achieve them. Career plans can help you make decisions about what classes to take, and identify the extracurricular activities, research, and internships that will make you a strong job candidate. Below are some helpful steps to guide you in creating a career plan customized to your interests and ambitions. Still have questions? We are here to help — set up an appointment  with a Career Advisor to get started or review your plan.

8 Steps to an Effective Career Plan

  • Identify Your Career Options.  Develop a refined list of career options by examining your interests, skills, and values through self-assessment . Narrow your career options by reviewing career information, researching companies , and talking to professionals in the field . You can further narrow your list when you take part in experiences such as shadowing, volunteering, and internships.
  • Prioritize. It’s not enough to list options. You have to prioritize. What are your top skills? What interests you the most? What’s most important to you? Whether it’s intellectually challenging work, family-friendly benefits, the right location or a big paycheck, it helps to know what matters to you — and what’s a deal-breaker. We provide skills and values assessments — set up an appointment with a Career Advisor to take advantage of this service.
  • Make Comparisons.  Compare your most promising career options against your list of prioritized skills, interests and values.
  • Consider Other Factors.  You should consider factors beyond personal preferences. What is the current demand for this field? If the demand is low or entry is difficult, are you comfortable with risk? What qualifications are required to enter the field? Will it require additional education or training? How will selecting this option affect you and others in your life? Gather advice from friends, colleagues, and family members. Consider potential outcomes and barriers for each of your final options.
  • Make a Choice.  Choose the career paths that are best for you. How many paths you choose depends upon your situation and comfort level. If you’re early in your planning, then identifying multiple options may be best. You may want several paths to increase the number of potential opportunities. Conversely, narrowing to one or two options may better focus your job search or graduate school applications.
  • S pecific — Identify your goal clearly and specifically.
  • M easureable — Include clear criteria to determine progress and accomplishment.
  • A ttainable — The goal should have a 50 percent or greater chance of success.
  • R elevant — The goal is important and relevant to you.
  • T ime bound — Commit to a specific timeframe.
  • Create Your Career Action Plan.  It’s important to be realistic about expectations and timelines. Write down specific action steps to take to achieve your goals and help yourself stay organized. Check them off as you complete them, but feel free to amend your career action plan as needed. Your goals and priorities may change, and that’s perfectly okay.
  • Meet with a Career Advisor. Our advisors are here to help you make effective career decisions.  Make an appointment on Handshake to talk about your career options and concerns.

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Build Your Brand

How to Create Your Career Action Plan in 4 Easy Steps

Get ready for the real world by creating your career action plan.

A young woman discusses her career action plan in a job interview

A career action plan lists your professional goals and the steps to achieve them. Your career plan will help you make smart decisions as you prepare for the real world—from activities and clubs to join to internships and jobs for you to pursue.

When you enroll at a Shorelight partner university, you will have access to our Career Accelerator Program (CAP), along with services offered by your school’s career center. CAP—offered exclusively through Shorelight—is a four-semester program designed specifically for international students and your career success.

One of many goal-oriented services offered through CAP is creating a career action plan. So, step by step, how does it work?

1. Start by Taking a Long Look in the Mirror

The first step is self-assessment. It’s important to be honest with yourself, but not too critical.

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

What do you enjoy?

What does your employment and internship history look like?

Are your courses and major positioning you for success after graduation?

When you have a good idea of what you value, what you are good at, and where you are academically, you can better understand what you have left to do to get your first internship or land your dream job.

Action plan

Draft your resume (if you have not already). Seeing your resume experience on paper will help you understand what gaps exist in your experience and education.

Make an appointment with your Career Accelerator advisor. Talk to them about the results of your self-assessment activity.

Make sure the courses you are taking are in line with your career goals and that you are not leaving any gaps. Your advisor can also help you craft your resume or CV.

2. Create a List of Possible Careers

Once you have a good idea of who you are and where you stand, start listing career options that interest you. Start broad and work your way down. Do not worry too much about adding every possible option or adding options that are just ‘maybes.’ There could be some options you were not so sure about that look better after you research them.

Search campus events to learn about upcoming networking opportunities with companies in your field.

Join student clubs and organizations that align with your career interests. Participating in a club is a great way to meet other students and potential employers.

Network with professionals in your desired field and ask them to meet for coffee or lunch. Ask about the steps you should take to be successful.

3. Do Your Research and Narrow Down Your Choices

Now you should have a list of career options and some basic information about yourself. Start prioritizing, comparing, and considering factors such as job availability, obsolescence, and other factors. Narrow down your options to a shorter list of potential careers.

Create a LinkedIn profile (if you do not have one already). Keep it up to date with relevant experience, such as internships and volunteering.

Join Slack, Facebook, and other groups that pertain to your career objectives. Follow conversations and gain insight into what the day-to-day looks like.

Attend MeetUps and other career-oriented networking events. These are great places to meet people who do what you want to do and to ask them questions.

4. Set Career Goals and Stick to Them

Now that you have an honest self-assessment and a shortlist of potential careers, the next step is to figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be. The best way to do this is to create career goals.

What steps can you take to achieve your career goals?

How long should it take to achieve your career goals?

Action Plan

Create SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound—goals. Write them down on paper. Break your long-term goals down into the smallest steps you can.

Collect all the components of your career development plan—your self-assessment, your career objectives, and your plan for reaching your career goal—meet up with your career advisor again. This time present your action plan and make sure you have not overlooked anything.

Apply for internship opportunities and volunteer positions to gain experience.

More Career Action Plan Tips

Do not be afraid to cross options off your list of potential careers. Now is the best time to figure out you do not like a job or a profession.

Be flexible—it’s okay to make changes as you go or even start over.

Meet regularly with your career advisor or visit your Career Accelerator rep as things change and when you need advice. They have experience helping students make career-oriented choices.

Keep an eye on your campus job and internship boards and research any other opportunities to learn and gain experience, especially CPT & OPT opportunities . Tell people and post on social media that you are looking for opportunities. The best way to know you what you want to do with your life is to try out a career first.

Explore Shorelight partner universities and their career-ready degree programs >

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7 Career Goal Setting Worksheets [New for 2023]

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Are you looking for your dream job?

If you’re currently working, does your work bring you satisfaction?

Career-wise, where do you see yourself three years from now?

Do you feel the need to make a career move, but are not exactly sure what it is that you need to do?

A post-pandemic survey done by Moneypenny reveals that only 7% of Americans are currently working their dream jobs.

If you haven’t figured out the next step in your career or if you are still contemplating what career best fits your skills and preferences, you might want to use a career goal-setting worksheet to help clarify a few things before you proceed with your next step.

For today’s post, we’ve rounded up some of the best worksheet examples to help determine your ultimate career goals.

Table of Contents

What Is Career Goal Setting and Why Is It Important?

Goal setting involves taking action in a deliberate manner to achieve something you want. You can use goal setting in all areas of your life.

Goal setting works very well for career goals, including the short- and long-term milestones you see yourself accomplishing throughout your career. [ You can check out some career goals examples in this post .]

Career goal setting is important in the following ways:

  • It clarifies the direction you’re going to take when it comes to your career.
  • If you haven’t found your dream job yet, goal setting can bring you closer to it.
  • It allows you to effectively utilize resources (e.g., time and energy) to achieve your goals.
  • It brings a feeling of satisfaction in your profession.
  • It showcases your commitment to your career.
  • It motivates and inspires you to succeed in the workplace.

How Do You Set Career Goals?

For career goals to be effective, they have to be SMART ( S pecific, M easurable, A ttainable, R elevant, and T ime-Bound). [ Check out these FREE Goal Setting Worksheets & Templates. ]

Here are some quick tips for setting effective career goals:

  • Begin with an outcome in mind.
  • Check the outcome against the SMART criteria. If it fits, move to the next step.
  • Write down your major career goal.
  • Create an action plan.
  • Follow your action plan and edit it as necessary.
  • Celebrate and reward yourself.

Check out this guide if you want an in-depth discussion on how to set goals in general .

In addition, a regular check-in with an accountability partner or mentor can help you stay motivated and provide useful feedback on the measures you’re using to achieve your goals.

The following worksheets are also very helpful in establishing your professional goals and following through with them.

Goal Setting Worksheets for Your Career

1. career goal setting statement.

career goals worksheet pdf | career planning worksheets for middle school student | setting long term goals worksheet

Download the PDF

Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your professional life is essential for success. Our worksheet is designed to help you gain clarity about what you truly want in your career. The worksheet features several guide questions that encourage deeper reflection to help you discover the following:

  • A major/life-changing career goal
  • The main reason behind this goal
  • Your personal values that will help you achieve this career goal
  • Your skill/abilities/experiences that you can tap to reach this goal

2. My Career Goal Template

This template is designed to help high school students establish their career goals. It contains several guide questions to help young people reflect on the type of career they want to have in the future.

This template also features questions that encourage one to assess what preparations they might need in terms of abilities, education, and resources for their chosen careers.

3. The 30-60-90 Day Plan Template

A new job always has its challenges. This template helps ease some of those challenges by providing a blueprint for success in your first 30, 60, and 90 days in a new job.

The self-onboarding worksheet features spaces for writing down what you need to focus on and your priorities in the time interval mentioned above. For each time period (e.g., first 30 days), there are spaces for writing down up to three Learning Goals and their respective metrics.

This worksheet is also a great progress tracker, giving you a visual indication of how you’re improving in your performance in a new job.

4. Career Development Plan Worksheet

This editable and printable worksheet helps clarify what you want to achieve in terms of your career. It provides spaces for writing your:

  • Personal vision statement
  • Career core values and interest
  • Short- and long-term career goals
  • Growth opportunities

There is also space reserved for formulating your action plan so you have documentation of how you’ve progressed in accomplishing the goals you’ve set for your professional advancement.

5. Career Planner

This career planner is an effective tool for charting your career path and determining how to achieve more success and/or opportunities for personal development in your professional life .

Upon purchase, you’ll receive a digital file of the planner. The following are some of the pages you’ll receive:

  • Career Objectives (with guide questions)
  • What’s Your Dream Job? questionnaire
  • Promotion Possibility page
  • Exiting Gracefully guide
  • Updating Your Resume guide
  • Interview Prep page

6. Goal Setting for the Boss Babe

If you need a planner/worksheet to keep track of the daily and weekly goals you’ve set in your career, this workbook is worth a try.

This is a planner that helps you break down all the tasks you need to accomplish at work. A weekly review page is handy for evaluating your work performance to see your progress and if there are areas that need improvement.

A sign-up is necessary to download the PDF version of the workbook.

7. Career Goals for High School Kids

Older kids can benefit from being introduced to the importance of setting career goals. This will instill the value of responsibility in them, as well as help them determine their profession in the near future.

This set of printables has everything that a family needs for goal setting. Parents and kids will find useful worksheets here, such as a worksheet for career goals designed for high school students.

To access the printable, click the link to the site. There is a directory of goal-setting printables for every occasion and purpose. Find the worksheet for Career Goals and click the link to be redirected to the page where you can download.

Final Thoughts

Setting your career goals is a beneficial experience. A career goal-setting worksheet can help you reflect deeper on what you ultimately want when it comes to your professional life.

Hopefully the worksheets featured today will inspire you to reflect on the aspects of your career that give you satisfaction and make you want to keep working.

If you need further resources to help with your career and/or goal setting, the following posts are worth a visit:

  • 13 Steps to Write & Set SMART Goals [2022 Update]
  • 4 Free SMART Goal Setting Worksheets & Templates [2022 Update]
  • 11 Career Goals Examples for an Interview or Job Advancement
  • 11 Professional Goals Statement Examples for Your Next Job Search
  • 6 SMART Goals Examples for Your Accounting Career

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10+ Career Development Plan for Students Examples [ Undergraduate, College, University ]

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Achieve your goals with a career planning template

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Planning professional development can be a daunting task and a lot lies in the approach you take to reach your goals. The core objective of setting goals is to bridge the gap between your current skills and competencies and your ultimate career ambitions. Luckily, there are tools available to help you structure your journey — one such tool is a career planning template.

By using this handy template, you can structure your goals into a clear roadmap, making what once seemed impossible more attainable. When it comes to career achievements, proper organization is key. This article details what a career development plan template is, why you might consider using one, and how to use it to plan your career. Let’s dive right in.

Get the template

What is a career planning template?

A career planning template is a tool that individuals can use to chart the course of their future. It’s a way of thinking about what skills and knowledge you might need in order to achieve specific goals.

A career plan can also help you identify potential obstacles and develop strategies for overcoming them. You can identify your professional objectives, talents, and interests by using a template, which can help you find a job you like. It’s a good idea to think of a career plan as a continuous process that helps you hone your profession as you go. Your goals and general approach are just two examples of the many things that might change over time.

Let’s take a look at these steps in more detail.

  • Setting goals:  Get to know yourself and establish what your goals are. Don’t be afraid of thinking big and setting goals  that push your limits.
  • Assessing current skills and knowledge:  Identify what your current skills are and take note of them. This should include both hard skills like computer skills and soft skills like communication or leadership.
  • Identifying gaps:  Once you’ve identified where you want to go and where you are, it’s time to identify the gap that lies between these two points. How far away are you from meeting your goal? What would you need to achieve to get closer to reaching it?
  • Creating an action plan:  At this stage, you should figure out which exact actions will lead to realizing your goals. You might decide to take some courses, apply for more jobs, or build your network. Whatever you must do, make a clear roadmap that you can continue using as a reference point along the way.

A career development plan can be a valuable tool for achieving success. It helps to make the seemingly impossible more tangible and concrete. Let’s have a look at some of the other advantages of using a career plan to map out your success.

Why use a career planning template

It isn’t always easy to lay out the short-term and long-term goals necessary to achieve your goals. Using a career planning template can help you visualize your path to success with greater clarity. Aside from this, a career planning template can also help you to:

  • Choose between career paths
  • Create an actionable plan
  • Understand and anticipate the steps involved to reach success
  • Hierarchically organize various career options

As delivered in the wise words of Earl Nightingale, “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” To help you visualize the difference a good career plan can make, we’ve put together a hypothetical example for you to consider.

What are some examples of career planning templates?

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Philip and Rhonda both want to become doctors. While Rhonda is at home studying the steps involved in reaching that goal, Philip is out with his friends and believes that if it’s supposed to happen, then it will. Rhonda has calculated approximately how many hours of study are required to achieve the grades she would need to get into medical school; Philip is studying as normal and hoping for the best. Rhonda has also organized the details of how she would fund her studies in the event that her grades are good enough. She has already taken on a part-time job, which would make her eligible for student loans.

When the grades are released, both Philip and Rhonda achieve good grades, but having not planned ahead, Philip is unable to finance his studies and will have to try again next year. Rhonda has used her part-time work to demonstrate her ability to make money and save and as a result, she’s granted a student loan and goes to medical school. While this example is simple, it captures the essence of the value of planning ahead  when working on meeting career goals. For Rhonda, using monday.com’s Career Planning Template  was a good decision and she won’t hesitate to use it in the future.

Career planning template on monday.com

monday.com is often referred to as the Swiss-army knife of productivity. Our feature-rich, highly-customizable Work OS allows users to tailor their interface to meet their productivity needs. With a bounty of professional documents and other expert guidance on tap, Work OS is suitable for both individuals and organizations, is immensely supportive of team collaboration, and even has the templates you need to drive your goals forward. Being highly customizable, it can easily meet the demands of project teams in any industry.

monday.com’s Career Planning Template allows you to create items corresponding to each stage of your career development plan. You can assign role responsibilities and expected salary rates for each item and stage. The template also allows you to assign expected time frames and anticipate spending in each stage of development. With these crucial features, you can easily orient yourself to stay on track to meet your goals.

Related monday.com templates

Our Career Planning Template is just one of the many useful templates that users can take advantage of. It’s a great tool for employees to map their growth trajectory within an organization, improving employee satisfaction and fostering organizational development.

Employee training plan template

Employers often use our Career Planning Template alongside our Employee Training Plan Template  to create plans that align employee goals with organizational objectives. This template covers creating a training checklist, assigning a training schedule, tracking employee performance, and staying on top of the employee’s career development plan. By using this template, you can organize your training activities and remove the hassle of administration to focus on what matters.

Development plan template

If your main aim is to focus on development, you can use our free Development Plan Template  to help you track your performance improvements. It helps you organize developmental goals and rank each item based on personally selected criteria. You can also assign due dates and expected timelines for each development stage, helping you keep the momentum of your planned growth trajectory going strong.

Frequently asked questions

What is a career development plan.

A career development plan is a road map that helps individuals attain their professional goals. It’s a tool that can help you identify the skills and experience necessary to reach your desired position as well as create a plan for acquiring those skills and experiences. By organizing your career development plan into milestones and steps, it becomes less intimidating and easier to approach.

How do I write a career plan?

Structuring a career plan can be complicated if you have nothing to go on. That’s why using the pre-existing structure of a career planning template can be a good idea. Creating a career development plan involves setting goals, assessing your current skills, identifying gaps in skills and knowledge, and creating a clear action plan.

Planning for success in your career

People often find themselves under immense pressure to reach their goals and professional development tends to mean a lot to those interested in long-term success. For these reasons, organization can be extremely important as it can help you to arrange your path into achievable short- and long-term goals. Using a career planning template can take away the initial stress of structuring your goals, making the path to success straightforward and easy to visualize.

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Explore | Prepare | Participate

Planning for after college can be intimidating. The Career Action Plan will lead you step-by-step to help you explore your career options, prepare your materials and develop your skills, and participate in the actions needed to reach your goals. Following the Career Action Steps will keep you moving toward your goals! Your career starts now.

Getting Started

Rewarding careers do not happen by accident. Be intentional about using your time at NC State to think critically about what a rewarding career means to you and what you need to do to achieve that goal.

Explore Show More

Explore yourself and your options

  • Explore your interests, skills, and values through participation in the Career Identity Program .
  • Take the Focus2 Career Assessment to learn about potential career options.
  • Find your support on campus by scheduling an appointment with your career counselor via ePACK. Consider enrolling in Career Exploration (USC 202).
  • Research career options by using digital tools such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook , and O*Net Online . Review potential jobs on ePACK , Career Shift (accessible through ePACK) and/or LinkedIn . 
  • Set up informational interviews with professionals in careers of interest to learn more about the field. Connect with NC State alumni via the “Alumni Search Tool” on LinkedIn.
  • Attend career fairs on campus to explore career options and familiarize yourself with how to network with professionals. 
  • Assess career goals and research to determine if graduate or professional school will be necessary. 

Visit the Career Development Center website (careers.ncsu.edu) to learn more about job search tools and to access resources

Prepare Show More

Prepare your materials and develop your skills

  • Prepare a targeted résumé and cover letter using the Career Guide . Have each reviewed by your Career Counselor.
  • Join student or community organizations that match your personal and/or professional interests; take on leadership roles.
  • Participate in a mock interview with your Career Counselor and/or Mock Interview Day held in the fall and spring. 
  • Create/update your LinkedIn profile using the Career Guide and use industry professionals’ profiles as a reference. 
  • Identify at least 3 professionals to serve as a reference for you when applying to internships, co-ops, jobs, or graduate school.
  • Research graduate/professional schools of interest. Check admission requirements and schedule the appropriate entrance exam (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc.).

Review the skills (Career Guide, pg 11) employers want and think about how you will gain these skills.

Participate Show More

Participate and take action to reach your goals

  • Attend career fairs, employer information sessions, and other career events to learn about opportunities.
  • Use ePACK , Career Shift, and LinkedIn to apply to internships, co-ops, and part-time jobs or apply to undergraduate research, alternative service break, study abroad, teaching assistant positions, etc. to gain hands-on experience prior to graduation.
  • Network and connect with alumni using NC State’s “Ask the Pack” tool and/or the “Alumni Search Tool” on LinkedIn.
  • Prepare for negotiations by conducting salary research and evaluating personal budgetary needs.
  • Apply for opportunities and track all applications for employment and graduate school.

Check-in with your career counselor to track your goals and use drop-in hours to have your resume critiqued.

4 Free Career Plan Templates to Help You Review Your Goals

A career plan is a valuable tool for any professional to establish a clear, actionable plan for their future. Here are some templates to create one.

Having a career plan helps you make sense of your future and reach your goals by leveraging your skills and expertise. It also enables you to keep track of your progress.

There are different ways to plan a career. You can write down your career goals in your diary, draw a vision board or use a career plan template you can easily edit. This article covers four career planning templates that you can use to break down your aims into a step-by-step career plan.

1. Career Plan Template by Postgraduate Environments

The comprehensive career plan template from postgraduate environments outlines six steps that take you from defining your goals to formulating a plan to reach your career goals. As you work your way through each step, here are the things you need to do:

  • Planning always starts with examining what's inside you. And that's what this template does in the first step. It calls for you to list down the strengths, skills, and expertise you've acquired, how your interests have been formed, and what values you hold dear.
  • To get a clear picture of what career options you may have, step two asks you to explore and filter jobs based on the attributes you defined in step one.
  • Next, you should outline the skills and expertise you need to pursue a specific career option and determine how you will develop them.
  • In the next step, you will consult with your mentor about one career option and define short and long-term goals that will enable you to achieve it.
  • Five steps later, you can create an action plan for achieving those goals by defining what you need to do and setting tight deadlines for each.
  • In the final step, you evaluate how well you're following your action plan and analyze your overall progress.

Note: To edit templates in PDF format, we recommend using the Sejda PDF editor .

2. Career Development Plan Template by UBC

This template consists of four steps, including different questions for you to answer. Your career plan will be ready just by answering those questions. Here are the steps involved:

  • In the first step, you explore the skills you already possess in your current job, the type of work you enjoy doing, what roles you enjoy working on, and define your strengths, values, and list of things that appeal to you.
  • As you move forward, you anticipate your career aspirations. You can narrow down your dream job, project your future career, and define the work environment you enjoy.
  • The next step is to carve out the path to achieve what you have anticipated in the second step. The questions in this section can be viewed as a road map for your direction by weighing in your resources, skills, and knowledge needed to acquire, make commitments, and handle the obstacles you'll face.
  • The last section deals with gathering resources and building relationships with those who can help you achieve your goals. This includes your family patting you on your back, the head manager who can help you get a promotion, and any new connections you make yourself or through community involvement that will help you succeed.

There is also a dedicated action plan section where you can break down your long-term goals into smaller chunks and work on each individually by developing skills, gathering resources, and setting deadlines.

Are you having trouble meeting targets in your current job? Check out our article for tips on setting career-boosting goals .

3. Personal Career Development Template by Pertemps Professional Development

You can also plan your career in four simple steps using this template. Here is what each step holds for you:

  • The first step is more like a self-assessment test where you reflect on four essential elements of your present career: interests, values, core skills, and competencies. Filling out each of them will give you a clear picture of what's within you that you are leveraging in your current job.
  • The next step is to outline your goals for one year, 2-3 years, and 3-5 years. To make your struggles more practical, you can divide your main goals into different years. It also includes a section to define three objectives that you think are most crucial for reaching your aspirations.
  • As you move on to the action planning phase, you can decide different areas of development for your goals, break them down into specific activities, decide timeframes, map out how to achieve them, and develop strategies to overcome barriers.
  • Lastly, the last section is for you to review your progress, which has been duplicated three times to allow you to examine your progress three times. For each area of development you have defined in the third step, you can review the progress, and if not completed, you can determine how to complete it by the next review.

4. Career Planner Template by SEEK

You can use this template to outline your career goals in five sections. Each section includes the following information:

  • Like other templates, the first step in this template is to determine your strengths, what you are passionate about and good at, and what kind of environment you wish to work in. Additionally, you can narrow down your industries of interest with a comprehensive list.
  • Afterward, the template allows you to reflect on three different career roles, identify what prerequisites you need to work on, and list action steps you need to take to get there. You can exchange ideas with your career coach, family members, friends, or anyone else using the brainstorming section. Then, take their feedback into account and realign your goals accordingly.
  • Then, you can now weigh in all three options you've brainstormed so far and compare them by identifying the pros and cons of each. Once you have laid out your thoughts, you need to choose one before proceeding.
  • In the next section, you can specify your long-term and short-term goals, the start and end dates, and the steps you need to take to achieve them.
  • The next step is to work on your goals, and while you do so, you can use the last section of the template to set up dates for reviews to keep track of your progress.

It can be challenging to set smart goals at times. Check out our article to set SMART goals for your career and personal development if you are struggling with this.

Plan Your Career With Smooth Templates

These templates will come in handy when crafting an effective career plan. After planning, put your best effort into following your plan and hold yourself accountable when you veer off course. If you find it overwhelming to pick one career, you can get help from different career advice websites that can assist you.

Career Action Plan Template – 15+ Free Sample, Example, Format Download!

In this fast paced world, it is very necessary to start planning early in order to achieve success fast, early and easily in life. What can be better than a Strategic Action Plan Templates to note all the necessary details and decisions regarding your career! Our career action plan templates focuses on both the good and the bad aspects and even more to help you ace in whatever career plan you choose to follow.You may also see Plan Templates .

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  2. Career Action Plan Template Awesome Excelsior College Make A Plan Meet

    career action plan template for students

  3. Student Career Action Plan Sample

    career action plan template for students

  4. 11+ Career Action Plan Examples

    career action plan template for students

  5. FREE 8+ Sample Career Action Plan Templates in PDF

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  6. √ 30 Career Action Plan Template in 2020 (With images)

    career action plan template for students


  1. planning 2 How to Create an Effective Action Plan Planning & Organization


  3. Career planning and professional development

  4. Career Planning and Development

  5. How to select and develop a career



  1. Creating your Five Year Plan

    Identify your "Five Year Goal". Indicate, using SMART goals, what you will accomplish each year to meet your Five-Year Goal. Include any resources or support you may need to meet your annual goals. Add a due date that is achievable for the goal you outlined. Add additional rows if you need additional steps in reaching your five-year goal.

  2. How to Create a Goal-Oriented Career Development Plan (Template

    Professional Development How to Create a Goal-Oriented Career Development Plan (Template + Tips) How to Create a Goal-Oriented Career Development Plan (Template + Tips) Written by Coursera • Updated on Jun 15, 2023 With a career development plan, you can organize your career goals and identify your individual pathway toward success.

  3. PDF Career Action Plan

    Career Action Plan As a new college student, you will discover new friends, new experiences, and new knowledge. You will learn to appreciate the talents and abilities you have to offer and will develop and enhance your skills and interests. Beginning College Action Steps View college as preparation for your life and your career goals.

  4. How To Develop and Write a Career Action Plan

    You can follow these steps to set goals for your career action plan: Make a list of every career goal you might want to achieve: Remember this is your list, and no one is judging what you put on it. These goals can be small, like getting a positive review from a boss, and big, like making a six-figure salary one day.

  5. Make a Career Plan

    8 Steps to an Effective Career Plan Identify Your Career Options. Develop a refined list of career options by examining your interests, skills, and values through self-assessment. Narrow your career options by reviewing career information, researching companies, and talking to professionals in the field.

  6. PDF Create Your Career Roadmap with an Individual Development Plan

    An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a dynamic, on-going graduate student career management tool to help you: • Develop mutually-agreed upon academic and career objectives with your mentor(s) and/or adviser(s) • Stay on track and make progress toward these ever-evolving goals In short, it is a roadmap tailored to your academic and career ...

  7. How to Create Your Career Action Plan in 4 Easy Steps

    Our school match questionnaire - and free advisor services - can help you find your ideal US university. Find your school. Our personalized programs support international students from application to enrollment, while Signature universities offer enhanced admissions, visa, academic, and career services, including our award-winning Accelerator ...

  8. 7 Career Goal Setting Worksheets [New for 2023]

    Write down your major career goal. Create an action plan. ... The 30-60-90 Day Plan Template. ... Parents and kids will find useful worksheets here, such as a worksheet for career goals designed for high school students. To access the printable, click the link to the site. There is a directory of goal-setting printables for every occasion and ...

  9. Career Development Plan for Students

    1. Professional Students Career Development Plan clemson.edu Details File Format PDF Size: 223 KB Download 2. Grad Student Career Development Plan careerdevelopment.princeton.edu Details File Format PDF Size: 28 KB Download 3. Undergraduate Student Career Development Plan priceschool.usc.edu Details

  10. How To Write an Action Plan (With Template and Example)

    Designate resources. Monitor the progress. 1. Set SMART goals Image description Before you start writing your action plan, consider using the SMART outline to set the right goal. Your goal should be:

  11. PDF Career Planning Guide 2020-2021

    to begin exploring ways to try out your career interests. Goal Setting and Action Plans⃣ Define your career goal(s) and set a realistic action plan with the steps and deadlines to meet your goal(s). Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Include some type of career-related experience! Explore Majors ...

  12. Your Career Action Plan

    Wherever you are in the career planning process, there are steps you can take to help you make informed decisions, shape your career goals, and prepare for employment. The following Career Action Plan provides recommended steps to help you with career planning while at UA. Freshmen and First-Year Students. Inquiry and Awareness

  13. PDF The 5 Minute Career Action Plan

    mins The 5 Minute Career Action Plan Interactive activities to help you focus on career success Introduction Are you unsure of what you want to do next? Do promotion opportunities keep slipping away from you? Or are you simply drifting along?

  14. Achieve Your Goals With A Career Planning Template

    Employers often use our Career Planning Template alongside our Employee Training Plan Template to create plans that align employee goals with organizational objectives. This template covers creating a training checklist, assigning a training schedule, tracking employee performance, and staying on top of the employee's career development plan ...

  15. PDF Career Development and Employment Services Career Action Plan

    refer you to career resources, and provide you with access to career assessment tools that can help you design and shape your future. Completing the activities in this manual will bring greater meaning to your college major, your career and your life. The Career Action Plan encourages students to explore and gather information about

  16. Career Action Plan

    Planning for after college can be intimidating. The Career Action Plan will lead you step-by-step to help you explore your career options, prepare your materials and develop your skills, and participate in the actions needed to reach your goals. Following the Career Action Steps will keep you moving toward your goals! Your career starts now.

  17. 4 Free Career Plan Templates to Help You Review Your Goals

    1. Career Plan Template by Postgraduate Environments The comprehensive career plan template from postgraduate environments outlines six steps that take you from defining your goals to formulating a plan to reach your career goals. As you work your way through each step, here are the things you need to do:

  18. How To Map a Clear Career Plan (With Example)

    7. Create a plan of action. Identify realistic expectations for your plan. List each action step specifically and in detail to help you track your progress and remain on track. As you complete each step, cross it off, or if your priorities change, it's up to you if you decide to amend the plan as needed.

  19. Career Action Plan Template

    Free Download 5 Year Career Action Plan Format Free Downlaod Career Development Action Plan Sample Free Download is a simple action plan template in the form of tables with relevant labels in spaces. Draw up your own action plan and distribute it among students to fill up. nationalservice.gov Free Download

  20. 5 Steps to Create a Career Development Plan for Yourself

    Do a gap analysis. Create your career development plan. Measure your progress and be ready to re-evaluate. 1. Identify your current position. The first step in any career development plan is to identify where you are now in your career. This step also allows you to reflect on your current skillset and strengths.

  21. ECAP

    What is an ECAP? On February 25, 2008 the Arizona State Board of Education approved Education and Career Action Plans for all Arizona students grades 9-12. An ECAP (Education and Career Action Plan) reflects a student's current plan of coursework, career aspirations, and extended learning opportunities in order to develop the student's ...

  22. PDF College and Career Readiness Action Planning Template

    Action-Planning Template prior to use and determine an appropriate process for addressing all of the questions. States might decide to use this template in the following ways: • Plan a one- or two-day meeting dedicated to working through the template with a planning group (see Suggested Participants/Partners on p. 2).

  23. Career action plans

    Customise the career action plan templates below to meet the needs of your young people. For example, education and training providers may choose to change images and words depending on individual needs. The year level associated with a career action plan may be used as a guide for young people with disabilities in special school settings.