Why You Must Create Your Own Career Development Plan Before Your Next Job Search

Setting out on a job search is a bit like taking a road trip without a map. You’ll end up somewhere, but it might not be your ideal destination. Even if you are in a terrible situation at your current employer, before you can hope to move onward and upward with your next position, you must map out your career development plan.

Know Where You Want to Go

You never get in your car without knowing your final destination. In order to set your destination for your next position, ask yourself where you want to be in two years. This is an easy goal to visualize, because it is in the near future. Next, ask yourself, “Once I achieve my two-year goal, where do I see myself in five years?”  Consider your two-year goal a stepping stone to that five-year goal.


As you visualize your path, make sure you’re setting a course that makes sense for you. If you set a career path that isn’t tailored to your own preferences, you aren’t going to be excited about it. Taking time to ask and answer these questions for yourself not only lays a path for your career, it also prepares you to answer these questions when you set out on interviews.

Plan Your Route

A critical piece of mapping your career plan is to know what types of roadblocks you may face. Search job descriptions that align with your two-year goal. Are there any skills you need to develop between now and then? Degrees or certifications you must pursue? Will you need to relocate for better opportunities?  Use these postings as a means of identifying the gaps you must begin to fill in today in order to reach your destination.

Begin Your Journey

Now that you know where you want to go and you understand what you will need in order to get there, you can put your career development plan into action. Look at the gaps you identified in the previous step of the process. Start researching ways to accumulate those skills or overcome those roadblocks. It might mean enrolling in courses, asking for more training on the job, or stepping up for more responsibility in your current position.


Set a schedule to keep yourself accountable. Break each milestone into weekly and monthly tasks. Conduct check-ins with yourself each week to review your process. You don’t have much control over the amount of work you need to do to reach your two-year goal, but you do have control over the actions you take to get yourself there.


Creating your own career development plan can be a bit of work, but nobody else is going to do it for you.  If you want to move forward, you must be willing to plan your journey and then do the work to get there.


Here is the good news: You don’t have to make the journey alone. If you are a talented job seeker on the hunt for new opportunities, the recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions would love to talk to you.  We will partner with you to match you with positions that align with your career goals and help you grow over time. Contact us today to learn more about our commitment to your success.