How to Write a Professional Growth Plan

The New Year has arrived, and many of us will resolve to do a whole host of things in 2015. Some of us will vow to lose weight, eat healthier or save money while others will pledge to land a new job or to get a promotion.

Career-related New Year’s resolutions are fairly common because work is a huge part of our daily lives. It is in our best interest to become better at what we do for a living. So, where to start? Creating a plan will help you achieve your career-related goals. Whether you want to move up in your company or have different career altogether, you need a plan to get there. Below are five steps to get you started by writing a professional growth plan.

Step 1 – Identify Your End Goal

The first step in any journey is to identify a destination. Likewise, the first step in developing your professional growth plan is to identify your dream career. This is your end goal. As with most journeys, there will be rest stops along the way. These are the short-term goals that you will accomplish as you move towards the end goal. Now, visualize what your life will be like in one year, two years, and so on, up to when you want to have your end goal achieved. For example, if you are 30 years old and you want to achieve your dream career by the age of 35, you’ll create a 5 year plan.

Step 2 – Write it Down

Write your end goal and short-term goals down. Display them where you will see them frequently. I can’t think of a better use for Post-it notes. You can stick them to your monitor, your bathroom mirror, your fridge, practically anywhere you look multiple times a day. If you prefer a digital version here’s a free download of Stickies for your desktop. However you display them just be sure your goals are visible daily as a constant reminder of your plan.

Step 3 – Evaluate Yourself

List your current skills and evaluate if they are helpful to achieving your career plan. If you want to become a Videographer, but you don’t know the latest camera equipment, you’ll need to create a short-term goal to get some training and practice. And add the training to your plan.

Step 4 – Break Down Your Plan

Break your career plan down into steps (short-term goals). Create a timeline including each step. Be realistic with yourself. If you need training, make sure you map out the amount of time it will take to complete it on your timeline. As you achieve each step, check them off your list so you can see yourself move forward on the timeline.

Step 5 – Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress helps you to identify when to makes changes to your growth plan. With any journey, there are often pot-holes or delays that may disappoint or discourage you. At some point, you may decide that your original destination is no longer desirable. Similarly, as you move along your growth timeline you may decide that ‘dream job’ isn’t so dreamy. That’s the time to change your career path and modify your professional plan.

Creating a professional growth plan helps you clearly see your career path and the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Check out our Five Rules to Goal Setting Success for more tips on creating a workable plan. And stay motivated! Here’s some great ideas to Stay Motivated and Surround Yourself with Success. The possibilities are endless when you create a plan and stick to it!