Help others with their career development!

Looking for a career plan example, more perhaps more guidance about the career planning process? We’ve got all the details you need to develop your very own career plan.

career plan example

Do you have big plans for your career? If the answer is yes, then you NEED a career plan.

A career plan helps you to articulate your vision for your career and turn it into reality. This is achieved by clarifying your career preferences, defining your career goals and mapping out the steps needed to achieve them.

Everyone is capable of achieving their big career goals! I know you can too. All that’s needed is a well-thought-out plan. That’s where I can help 😊

This post is about demonstrating a career plan example 

What is a career development plan?

A career development plan involves mapping the key steps and milestones of your career to provide strategic direction to achieve your career goals. They are sometimes referred to as a career plan or professional development plan. In this post, I’m going to use the term career plan.

A career plan goes way beyond simply setting SMART goals. It starts with you truly understanding yourself and your career preferences, and continues throughout your career journey.

A career plan is a roadmap, not a set-and-forget statement or goal. It can start at the beginning of your career or can be developed at any point in time.

Why do I need a career plan?

Developing a solid career plan is important because:

  • You gain clarity on your ideal career (wherever you are in your career journey)
  • It ensures your career doesn’t become stagnant and disengaging
  • It keeps you on track towards your career goals
  • It can improve your career longevity/future-proof your career
  • It helps you to manage any different career phases or unexpected changes proactively
  • You are in control of your career and not at the whims of others (like your employer)
  • It ensures you are setting intentional goals and provides direction for your career development activities
  • It gives you a sense of certainty and peace-of-mind about your future
  • You know EXACTLY what steps to take to achieve your career goals
  • You gain the most out of your career journey!
  • It keeps a record of and measures your progress over time
  • It makes answering those pesky interview questions about where you want to be in 5 years time a breeze 😉

Who should have a career plan?

Um, everyone!

Everyone can benefit from a career plan, including those who are:

  • looking for employment
  • students
  • recent graduates
  • looking to change careers
  • looking to transition to retirement
  • wanting to become self-employed

If you’re unsure about which direction you would like to take your career, you should still start developing a career plan. Quite often the answers will come once you start putting pen to paper.

Remember, “You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” (Martin Luther King Jnr).

When should you start career planning?

Yesterday. If not, today 😊

Since you’ve found your way here (and I’m really glad you have), I’m guessing you have (or are planning) a big career or study-related change ahead.

These big changes can sometimes bring about a sense of angst or uncertainly. Having a career plan in place can help alleviate this and keep you on track and in control of your time and career.

The beauty of career plans is that they can be completely tailored to suit your own circumstance, whether you are still in high school or looking to retire.

It’s never too early or too late to develop a career plan.

Career plan example

Below are all the elements of a good career plan, detailing the key aspects of each stage.

Stage 1 – Reflect 

  • Where you are currently at in your career journey

Stage 2 – Self-assess 

  • Your career preferences including career interests, career values, career skills and career traits
  • Create a view of your ideal and alternative careers and mission statement
  • Address motivation

Stage 3 – Research/explore your options  

  • Research the qualifications and capabilities you need to achieve your ideal career
  • Explore the finer details of your ideal career such as salary, working environment, availability of work, hiring process etc.
  • After gathering all this information, consider if your ideal career is still a good fit for you at this point.

Stage 4 – Set goals 

  • Establish short, medium and long term goals and milestones to achieve your ideal career

Stage 5 – Make it happen

  • Create a meaningful action plan to make it happen!

Stage 6 – Review and adjust  

  • It’s important to regularly your career plan to ensure it’s still working for you and adjust where necessary. Remember to use your career plan as a guide only and remain flexible.

Many clients contact me around Stage 2 for assistance with identifying their career interests, values, skills and traits. This can be the most difficult stage of the process.

I recommend journaling or working through a number of self-reflection questions to help clarify your career preferences.

Side note: we are currently revising our very own career plan template which will be available to you shortly. Be sure to check back here again soon to get your own copy!

Once you are clear on your career preferences, you can use a template similar to the below to create a view of your ideal and alternate careers.

Here’s an example from My Career Planner (available soon!) which you can use as a guide. This career plan template works best for those who are deciding which career path to pursue. This applies to people who are new to the job market or undergoing a career change.

career plan

Curious about how it works? Here’s one I prepared based on my very own career preferences, with an alternative career of course😉

career plan

You can complete this career plan template multiple times to provide alternative career options for yourself.


Developing a career plan is one of the most important things you can do to help achieve your big career goals! It provides you with a roadmap that articulates your vision for your career and turns it into reality.

Developing a career plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. The key is to work through all stage 6 outlined above authentically and thoughtfully. Commit to your plan and action accordingly, but adjust and remain flexible when necessary.

This post was about demonstrating a career plan example

Did you have a go at completing a career plan using the examples above? If so, I would love to hear about your results in the comments below!

You might also like Have you got inspiring career goals? Here’s how to develop them.

Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward

Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward

Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.

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Hi there, I'm Danielle! I've got a combined 15 years of experience in the career development and human resource industries. I'm passionate about helping people live empowered, purposeful and fulfilled lives through engaging in meaningful work. Calibrated Career provides innovative and affordable self-guided career exploration tools and resources to facilitate your career development and empower you to achieve your career goals.

Help others with their career development!