How to create a career development plan

May 5, 2021

Source: Pexels/Ron Lach 

Creating a robust career plan is a fundamental step in steering the direction of your professional journey. It involves pinpointing the specific job skills essential for career advancement and plays a pivotal role in helping you secure your ideal role. A well-thought-out career development plan not only guides you towards your career goals but also ensures that you are equipped with the necessary competencies to achieve them. By identifying these skills and setting clear milestones, you can navigate your career path with greater confidence and clarity.


Although it may seem straightforward, crafting a career plan is often a complex task. The key to overcoming this challenge lies in establishing specific and measurable career objectives. Such goal-setting is instrumental in clarifying your aspirations in professional development and outlining the steps necessary to achieve them.

The significance of a well-defined career plan becomes even more pronounced in sectors like energy and infrastructure. These industries are among the most competitive and dynamic, necessitating a clear understanding of your current professional standing and what it takes to gain a competitive advantage. A thorough career plan in these fields doesn’t just guide you; it positions you strategically for growth and success in an ever-evolving job market.

Here are reasons why a career development plan is important:

  •   Helps define your future career path 
  •   Helps you take charge of your own advancement 
  •   Helps you identify areas that need improvement 
  •   Offers the confidence necessary to advance to the next level

Read on to see how you can create a practical career development plan.

Identify your current position and career options

The initial step in creating a career development plan involves a thorough assessment of your current professional standing. This assessment should encompass an evaluation of your past experiences, strengths, specific skills, and core values. Reflecting on your success metrics is crucial in understanding how your current projects and responsibilities align with your ultimate career aspirations.

Identifying your present job position is also key in streamlining your choices, preventing the feeling of being overwhelmed as you progress in your career. Factors to consider include your standing in your field, as well as any academic goals or ambitions also take into consideration side projects that can help you grow. These elements are vital in establishing a foundation for your potential and guiding the trajectory of your career development plan.

Identify your destination 


Source: Pexels/Kateryna Babaieva

The whole point of a career development plan is to design a strategy to help you reach your ultimate career objectives. Take time to understand where you want to be in, say, the next ten years, and compartmentalise your career within that timeline. 

For example, if your dream is to be a senior project manager in a midsize energy company, be sure to incorporate it into your plan. 

Ideally, it is advisable to establish where you want to be in small increments; take into account where you are and what you want to do in the next two years. It is easier to visualise and achieve the ultimate goal if you work on it in smaller portions. 

Looking for more candidate career advice? Check out our jobseeker guide! 

Do a gap analysis 

Conducting a gap analysis is a vital component of your career development plan. This process entails comparing your current performance against your desired career outcomes. Start by exploring job listings for the role you aspire to, paying close attention to the required skills, experiences, and qualifications. Assess your own capabilities in these areas, rating yourself to pinpoint where you excel and where additional effort is needed for improvement.

The utility of a gap analysis in career planning cannot be overstated. It provides a clear picture of your strengths and areas for development, highlighting the aspects that require further enhancement. To ensure a comprehensive analysis, consider consulting with a professional or a colleague. Their insights can help you identify any overlooked elements in your gap analysis, thus making your career development plan more robust and actionable.

Now that you have identified the skills and experiences you need to achieve your goals, here is how to create a career development plan to help you achieve them

Set small, task-oriented goals as part of your action plan — Create a set of tasks and identify means of accomplishing them. For instance, if one of the needed skills is to learn how to operate certain software, take a course to polish it. 

Organise your goals around a reasonable timeline and start with short-term goals that you can achieve quickly before moving to long-term goals. It's also important to track your progress as you go along.

Think SMART — The SMART goal template (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound) helps you design your goals, ensuring they are tangible, realistic, and therefore achievable. 

Create task deadlines — Working with deadlines is a sure way to complete your tasks within the set timeline. 

Measure your progress and be ready to evaluate

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Source: Pexels/ThisIsEngineering

Implementing your personal goals and evaluating them along the way ensures you are on the right path from beginning to end. For guaranteed success, you need to keep track of every activity to make sure you are doing everything in the correct order. Equally important, consider milestones and update your goals as circumstances change and more opportunities present themselves.

Effectively implementing and regularly evaluating your personal goals is crucial in ensuring that you are on the correct path from the outset to the conclusion of your career development journey. To guarantee success, it's essential to meticulously track each activity, verifying that everything is executed in the right sequence. Equally important is the recognition of milestones. As your career progresses, circumstances will evolve and new opportunities will arise. Adapting and updating your goals in response to these changes is key to maintaining relevance and momentum in your career development plan.


Crafting a career development plan is a key strategy for advancing your career goals. By meticulously mapping out your professional trajectory, you set yourself on a path towards achieving these goals, fostering motivation, productivity, and ultimately, success in your chosen career.

At Airswift, we are dedicated to assisting individuals in the energy, process, and infrastructure sectors in reaching their career aspirations. We encourage you to sign up to our jobs board to explore the latest global vacancies and opportunities tailored to your career development needs.

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This post was written by: Zoe Carpenter, Regional Recruitment Manager, Airswift