When was the last time you had a career development plan? Most of us who joined the workforce, during the 60s, 70s or 80s remember sitting down with our managers once a year to work on a career development plan. That was when you started your career with one company and planned to stay there for thirty or more years. I started my career in the late 1970’s working for IBM.

I did not appreciate the value of doing those plans back then.

Boy, those days are over!

I was asked the other day about the value of creating career development plans for those of us who are in the second half of our working lives? Our employers no longer get invested in our career development. After all, the average employee stays 4.4 years. Who does care?

I sure hope it is you!

Baby boomer career development plan

So, sit yourself down and create your own career development plan.

The first question to address is what do you want to do in your career in the next one, three and five years? This can be very hard for many of us. We rarely have thought about what we want to do versus what will employers be willing to pay us to do. But the fact of the matter is that employment values have shifted. What you want, enjoy and makes you happy is considered important not only to individuals but employers.

The second question is what direction is the industry heading? You need to keep track of the pulse of your industry. What are the strategic directions? How do trends in your industry correlate with what you want to do? If they do not match up, you may need to go back to step one OR look at a different industry or career path.

The third question is, what skills do you currently have and what skills do you need to acquire? Many of us in our second half of our work life did not think we needed to acquire any more skills.

Boy, were we wrong! Technology is changing the world at an incredible pace and no one can afford to ignore the ways it’s morphing the work world.

The fourth question is, how do you integrate these new skills into your online presence (LinkedIn profile, blog, Twitter feed,….), your resume and your personal brand? How are we going to advertise and actively promote our newly acquired skills?

Yeah, yeah I know you think you should not have to do this.

This final step that is the new piece of your career development plan. How is anyone going to know that you know your stuff?

Many baby boomers are leaving the corporate world and entering the world of entrepreneurship. If you’re one of them, you absolutely have to add the promotion step to your career development plan.

When are you going to start on your baby boomer career development?


Marc Miller is the founder of Career Pivot which helps Baby Boomers design careers they can grow into for the next 30 years. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers, published in January 2013, which has been featured on Forbes.com, US News and World Report, CBS Money-Watch and PBS’ Next Avenue. Career Pivot was selected for the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career. Marc has made six career pivots himself, serving in several positions at IBM in addition to working at two successful Austin, Texas startups, teaching math in an inner-city high school and working for a local non-profit. Learn more about Marc and Career Pivot by visiting the Career Pivot Blog.