Career Planning Examples (With Template)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 12, 2023

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Career planning is an essential skill that is useful throughout your working life. There are many career planning examples that provide inspiration for professional development, growth and accomplishment. Learning how to plan your career can make it easier to achieve the professional goals you want. In this article, we uncover why career planning is essential to your success, show you career planning examples, and provide a career planning template for you to use when planning your own career.

Related: How To Advance Your Career (With 7 Insightful Tips)

What is career planning?

Career planning includes determining various short-term and long-term goals specific to growth and development within your job. It is the process of identifying particular areas you want to work on in your professional life. You can include educational training, skills development and pursuing opportunities and interests that align with your career. When you create a career plan, you have a specific outcome you work towards that allows you to review and adjust your progress over time.

Related: How To Develop a Career Plan (With Six Steps to Follow)

Why is career planning important?

Career planning is helpful for anyone in the workforce. Whether you recently graduated and are starting your career, or you've been working for years and want to pursue new interests or advance to better opportunities, a career plan can identify the steps you need to take. A career development plan provides a map of the long- and short-term objectives and breaks these down further into actionable tasks. While a career plan helps you stay on track when you're feeling unmotivated, it also provides a tool to measure your growth and success.

Other benefits of creating a career plan include:

  • discovering new interests

  • setting and achieving your goals

  • maintaining a healthy work-life balance

  • improving your skills

  • gaining a better understanding of the job market

  • acknowledging your own potential

  • enhancing your confidence in your career choice

Related:

  • 12 Essential Life Skills For Improving Your Career

  • Why Career Management Is Important (With Benefits and Tips)

Three career planning examples

There are many career planning goals you can set for yourself. Below are three examples of career planning to inspire you:

Become an expert in your field

Becoming an expert in your industry or field is an excellent example of career planning. There are many steps involved in reaching this objective, and beginning with the end in mind is the first step. Identifying what being an expert means to you is crucial to understanding the process of reaching this goal. For example, becoming an expert might mean your expertise is in high demand, and you work as a consultant to train others. Alternatively, being an expert might mean you travel to various companies giving presentations about your area of knowledge.

Once you have a clearly defined meaning for your plan, you need to identify the long- and short-term goals to help you achieve your objective. For example, you may need to take further training or get a certification as your first step to becoming an expert. You can find positions that allow you to expand your skills and expertise while working towards your larger goal. Another goal within your larger career plan can include writing a book or publishing a report or paper, helping to bolster your authority and professionalism in your area of expertise.

Related: 7 Expert Power Examples (With Tips To Maintain Expert Power)

Obtain a leadership position

Another example of a career planning goal is to obtain a leadership role. Securing a high-level management position requires planning, forethought and professional development. Once you've identified a leadership position as your career plan, next you want to determine what kind of role you'd enjoy and in what type of organization. Leadership can take many forms, from a senior executive in a large corporation to a hands-on mentoring leader in a non-profit organization.

Once you determine the details of your career plan, you can then assess your current skills and strengths and identify what training you still require. Leadership positions need many skills and competencies. Once you've identified your weaknesses, you can create short-term goals to work on specific leadership skills, such as communication, organization, time management, and interpersonal skills. Breaking down the large career plan into smaller short-term milestones allows you to measure your growth and make any adjustments as you progress.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

Win an award in your industry

If you're motivated by public recognition, a career plan to work towards is winning a prestigious award in your industry. This is often a long-term commitment and can require countless hours of work and dedication to your career. You want to first identify the awards available in your industry. You can learn this information by researching online, reading industry publications, attending conferences, and connecting with other professionals in your network.

Once you've learned about the possible awards, you also need to understand the criteria for nomination or winning. There are typically strict rules and protocols surrounding award nominations and to be eligible, you want to know precisely what the regulations are to be considered. For example, there may be certain sales quotas to meet or a length of employment before being eligible. Once you know the rules, you can create short-term goals to work towards the award.

Related: 4 Steps To Highlight Your Achievements on a Resume

Career planning template

When creating your career planning goals, you can use the following template to keep yourself on track and organized by breaking down a large objective into smaller short-term milestones:

Career interest: [the ultimate long-term goal in your career]
Long-term professional goal: [long-term goal for career planning]
Milestone goal #1: [short-term goal that brings you a step closer to the success of your long-term goal]
Milestone goal #2: [short-term goal that brings you a step closer to the success of your long-term goal]
Milestone goal #3: [short-term goal that brings you a step closer to the success of your long-term goal]

Career development actions
Milestone #1 [complete section of activities for each milestone above]
Activity 1: [smaller task to complete to achieve milestone]
How: [the steps you need to take to complete the activity]
Start date: [date you begin the activity]
Projected completion: [date you expect to have the activity completed]

Activity 2: [smaller task to complete to achieve milestone]
How: [the steps you need to take to complete the activity]
Start date: [date you begin the activity]
Projected completion: [date you expect to have the activity completed]

Activity 3: [smaller task to complete to achieve milestone]
How: [the steps you need to take to complete the activity]
Start date: [date you begin the activity]
Projected completion: [date you expect to have the activity completed]

Tasks in current job that contribute to long-term goal: [list of current tasks that help your success in achieving your long-term goal]
How to emphasize: [list of ways you can do more of these tasks]
Tasks in current job that don't contribute to long-term goal: [list of current tasks that provide no value to your long-term goal]
How to minimize: [list of ways you can do less of these tasks]

Additional skills to learn: [list of skills you need to learn, develop, or master]

Progress checkpoints
Progress checkpoint 1: [meeting with someone who can hold you accountable to your career plan]
When: [date of check-in]
Purpose: [what will be discussed during the meeting]

Progress checkpoint 2: [meeting with someone who can hold you accountable to your career plan]
When: [date of check-in]
Purpose: [what will be discussed during the meeting]

Related: How to Create a Career Plan in 9 Steps

Career planning example

Using the template above, here is an example of a career plan in action:

Career interest: Prestige cosmetics sales management.
Long-term professional goal: Obtain a national sales manager position for True North Cosmetics.
Milestone goal #1: Be a top sales performer for each quarter in 2022.
Milestone goal #2: Become a regional sales manager.
Milestone goal #3: Join professional cosmetic and sales organizations to grow my network.

Career development actions
Milestone #1 Be a top sales performer for each quarter in 2022.

Activity 1: Attend sales calls with senior sales managers.
How: Introduce myself to the senior sales managers. Offer to take them for lunch to develop a professional relationship.
Start date: November 1, 2021
Projected completion: November 8, 2021

Activity 2: Complete advanced sales training.
How: Speak to regional sales manager to register for the next training event.
Start date: November 1, 2021
Projected completion: February 1, 2022

Activity 3: Develop business analysis skills.
How: Learn about SWOT analysis to better help my customers analyze their sales. Enrol in a self-study course online.
Start date: November 1, 2021
Projected completion: January 1, 2022

Tasks in current job that contribute to long-term goal: Attending product classes to learn about new items and collaborating with marketing team for new product launches.
How to emphasize: Conduct post-seminar research to learn and implement new knowledge and volunteering to assist marketing team with product launch roll-out in stores.
Tasks in current job that don't contribute to long-term goal: Administrative tasks, such as filing paperwork, booking appointments, and creating sales packages.
How to minimize: Teach an intern or assistant to complete these tasks.

Additional skills to learn: Territory management, sales analysis, prospecting.

Progress checkpoints
Progress checkpoint 1: In-person meeting with the regional sales manager.
When: December 15, 2021
Purpose: To discuss progress on SWOT analysis course.

Progress checkpoint 2: Phone call with regional sales manager.
When: January 15, 2022
Purpose: To discuss progress on activities for milestone #1.

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