One of the most common questions I receive as a career coach is, “How do I create a career growth plan?” Most people are looking for a ten-page document they can use as a step-by-step road map to get from point A to point B.

While that’s not exactly what a career growth plan is, I can give you the next best thing. In this article, I’m going to show you how to create a career growth plan using a simple five-step process.

This will help you identify your career goals, create a plan to achieve them, and accelerate your career growth. You can also use the steps in this article to create a career plan template for your organization.

1. Identify What You Want

Before you can start creating your career growth plan, you need to identify what you actually want. Without a specific goal in mind, you’ll have no way of knowing whether you’re making progress or not.

In the beginning, your career growth plan should focus on your next career move. Whether you want to get a promotion at your current job, find a new job, or switch careers entirely, you need to know what you’re working towards.

The best way to do this is by identifying your career goals. Ask yourself what you want your career to look like in one year, five years, and ten years. This will help you identify what you want in the short-term and long-term.

2. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you’ve identified your career goals, it’s time to take a good hard look at your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you determine what areas you need to improve on and what areas you should capitalize on as you work on your career development plan.

One of the most popular ways to assess your strengths and weaknesses is through a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can use a SWOT analysis to evaluate your career as a whole or for specific career goals you have in mind.

3. Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Now that you have an understanding of what you want to accomplish, it’s time to create goals. But not just any goals. You need to create S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are:

• Specific

• Measurable

• Attainable

• Relevant

• Time-bound

For example, if you want to become a marketing manager, a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be, “I want to become a marketing manager in the next two years. To do that, I will need to take on more leadership roles and develop my skills in data analysis and campaign management.”

Notice how this goal is specific and includes a time frame. It also identifies the skills and experiences you will need to develop to accomplish the goal.

4. Create a Development Plan

Once you’ve identified your career goals, it’s time to create a plan. In this plan, you’ll need to identify the skills and training you’ll need to achieve your goals.

You should also consider what types of projects, tasks, or job opportunities you’ll need to take on to make your plan a reality.

For example, if you want to become a marketing director, you may need to develop your leadership and management skills. In that case, you might want to take on a leadership role in your current company or volunteer to lead a cross-departmental project.

If you want to become a marketing director in a new industry, you might want to take on projects that help you learn more about that industry. You might also want to consider attending industry conferences or taking online courses to learn more about the industry.

5. Show Your Boss the Plan

Once you’ve created your career growth plan, it’s time to show it to your boss. This is a critical step, as it will help you get your manager’s buy-in and make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to your career development.

Schedule a meeting with your boss and let them know that you want to talk about your career growth. Share your career growth plan with them and explain why you want to work with them to achieve your goals.

Be prepared to answer any questions your boss may have, and be open to their feedback. After all, your boss knows the company and your role better than anyone, so their input will be invaluable.

Once you’ve reviewed your career growth plan with your boss, make sure to set up regular check-ins to discuss your progress. This will help you stay accountable and ensure that you’re on track to achieve your goals.

6. Do the Work

Ultimately, the most important step in any plan is the doing. You can have the most well-thought-out plan in the world, but if you don’t take action, it’s all for naught.

Start by taking the first step you’ve outlined in your plan. If your plan is to look for a new job, that might mean updating your resume. If your plan is to get a promotion, that may mean talking to your manager about your career goals.

Taking that first step will help you build momentum and make the process feel more manageable. And who knows? You may even find you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

7. Review and Revise the Plan

The last step in creating your career growth plan is to review and revise it regularly. You should set aside time every three to six months to review your progress and make any necessary adjustments.

During your review, take a look at your goals and ask yourself if they are still relevant. If not, it may be time to update your goals or create new ones.

You should also review your progress and make note of any accomplishments you have achieved. This can help you stay motivated and keep moving forward.

Finally, make sure to review your plan with your manager. They can provide valuable feedback and help you make any necessary adjustments.


As you can see, creating a career growth plan is an important step in achieving your professional goals. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or looking for ways to further your expertise, a career growth plan can help you reach your desired level of success.