What Is a Career Plan Template? (With Importance and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 3 January 2023

Published 4 May 2022

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.

If you're considering a new career path or you're just starting out on your career journey, then creating a career plan could be a good option. A career plan template helps you to combine your key strengths, ambitions and goals into one document. Knowing how to create a career plan can help you achieve your professional goals. In this article, we explain what a career plan template is, identify why a career plan is important, outline when to use a career plan and provide some templates and an example.

What is a career plan template?

A career plan template is a document you can use to help focus your career ambitions. A career plan can include your current experience, skills, career goals, personal interests or work priorities. It can also outline any specific actions you plan to take to help reach your goals, like completing further study or gaining more relevant work experience.

Using a template can help you determine your work goals, skills and interests, which can lead you to a career that you enjoy. Unlike other documents, it's a good idea to think of a career plan as a continuous process that helps refine your career as you progress. Many factors can change over time, including your ambitions and lifestyle.

Why is a career plan important?

Creating a career plan can help ensure that your career is heading in the direction you desire. If done correctly, it can help you realise your goals and prioritise what's important to you, identifying the steps to take to achieve them. A career plan can also allow you to check whether the current steps you're taking match your career goals. You can also use a career plan to develop new skills or extend your knowledge in specific areas.

Related: How To Create a Career Plan

When to use a career plan

Depending on what stage you're in with your career, using a career plan can help determine your goals and identify how to achieve them. Here are some examples:

Determining the right career for you

Completing a career plan can help decide what career path to follow. This type of plan typically includes:

  • Self-reflection: Assess your strengths and skills, work out what type of job you're suited for and identify any particular areas of interest.

  • Your career options: Consider some potential career options and assess the pros and cons to help determine which career is your best option.

  • Assessing your career options: Look at your skills, experience and what you enjoy and compare this to the pros and cons listed in your career options section to help you decide.

  • Setting your goals: After you've decided on a career path, it's important to establish your long-term goals and the steps to take to reach those goals. Setting timelines for your goals can help to keep your long-term goal on track and help you measure your progress.

Related: How to Set Career Goals

Changing careers

If you're looking for a change, a career plan can be helpful to work out your next steps. Given that you already have some professional experience, it can be helpful to establish your strengths based on actual work experience. A career plan can also be beneficial to get guidance from colleagues or a mentor. They may be able to help you determine which industry or roles could be a good match for you.

Related: How to Change Careers

Advancing in your career

If you're looking to advance in your current career, completing or updating your career plan can be worthwhile. A career plan for advancement can be less detailed than a career plan for a new career. It can allow you to assess your key strengths and better understand your options. For example, it may help you decide whether to look for promotions internally or seek a new role externally with another company.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

Career plan template

Here are templates you can use to create a career plan:

Example 1

This template is suitable if you're considering a new career or deciding on a career path to explore:

What are your interests or passions?
[List your interests or passions here.]

Name three of your top skills.
[List your skills here.]

What type of industry/industries would you prefer?
[List potential industries here.]

Describe your ideal work environment
[Describe the work environment here.]

Consider your career path
[List the top three careers you're exploring, highlight what qualifications or experience are required and the steps you could take to get there.]
[Job name 1]
[Qualifications or experience]
[Steps required]

[Job name 2]
[Qualifications or experience]
[Steps required]

Assessing your career paths

[Job name 1]
Pros: [Describe the pros of the role.]
Cons: [Describe the cons of the role.]

[Job name 2]
Pros: [Describe the pros of the role.]
Cons: [Describe the cons of the role.]

[Job name 3]
Pros: [Describe the pros of the role.]
Cons: [Describe the cons of the role.]

Chosen career path
[Describe the career path you chose based on the pros and cons of each role.]

Setting goals
Long-term goals: [Describe your long-term career goals based on your career choice.]
Short-term goals: [Describe your short-term career goals for the role you chose.]

Goal 1: [Goal name]
Steps: [List the necessary steps to achieve the goal.]
Start: [List the start date for the goal.]
End: [List the deadline to achieve the goal.]

Goal 2: [Goal name]
Steps: [List the necessary steps to achieve the goal.]
Start: [List the start date for the goal.]
End: [List the deadline to achieve the goal.]

Example 2

The following is a template for someone considering how to advance their career.

Current skills, knowledge and experience
[Summarise your critical skills, knowledge or experience here.]

Short term: [List the goals you plan to complete within six to 12 months.]
Mid-term: [List the goals you plan to complete within one to four years.]
Long-term: [List the goals you plan to complete within the next five or more years.]

Training and development required
[Review your existing skills and list any training or development required to help meet your goals.]

Action plan
[Create a step-by-step action plan to reach your goals, ensuring each goal aligns has a timeframe.]

  1. [Goal description] by [date]

  2. [Goal description] by [date]

  3. [Goal description] by [date]

Related: How To Write an Action Plan To Help Achieve Your Goals

Career plan example

Here is an example of a career plan for a student who is completing Year 11 and considering their career options:

My interests and passions:

  • helping people with their problems

  • solving problems

  • travel

My top skills:

  • communication

  • presentation skills

  • maths and problem solving

Type of industry I want to work in:

  • finance

  • travel

  • health care

My ideal work environment:
I want to work somewhere I can meet new people and get the opportunity to travel. I don't want to work full time in an office.

Career options
1. Commercial pilot
Qualifications or experience: A private pilot licence and commercial pilot licence are required. This means significant training, various assessments and training requirements. It possibly also requires an aviation degree.
Steps required: Significant training, costs and passing examinations

2. Psychologist
Qualifications or experience: This role would require six years of education, training and registration with the Psychology Board of Australia.
Steps required: Complete an undergraduate psychology degree and an honours degree or postgraduate diploma, an additional two years of supervision and a fifth year of study or a master's degree.

3. Accountant
Qualifications or experience: Bachelor's degree in accounting
Steps required: Complete bachelor's degree or postgraduate qualification, participate in a CPA Australia program or become a member of an accounting organisation, for example, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).

Pros and cons

1. Pilot
Pros: Travel to new places, meet new people, work with varied teams, decent salary
Cons: No fixed schedule, considerable training required, demanding hours, required to work during holiday periods

2. Psychologist
Pros: Helping people and meeting new people, flexible schedule, ability to be self-employed
Cons: High stress, emotionally draining, extensive training, job stability if self-employed

3. Accountant
Pros: Career advancement opportunities, lots of industries available to work in, good salaries, opportunities for professional development
Cons: Mainly working in an office environment, can be stressful, busy periods around set times of the year

Chosen career path – accountant

My long-term goal is to become a CFO for a global company that allows me to travel extensively.
My short-term goals are:

Goal 1: Complete required education to become an accountant.
Steps: Complete an undergraduate degree specialising in business or economics.
Start: 2023
End: 2026

Goal 2: Get work experience while studying to assist with job search when I finish university.
Steps: Secure an internship while at university with a top accounting firm.
Start: 2024
End: 2026

Goal 3: Land first job with a major accounting firm.
Steps: Obtain an entry-level position with opportunities for promotion for a major accounting firm to get experience in various areas. Contact multiple accounting firms, attend job fares and look for internship opportunities to leverage networks and contacts.
End: 2028

Goal 4: Secure an international position with growth opportunities
Steps: Secure a middle-management global role ideally with the same firm to grow my contacts internationally, gain experience in a different market and one that has significant opportunities for promotion.
Start: 2028-2030
End: 2032

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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