Building a Better Career through a Career Development Plan

September 26, 2023

June B. is a human resource professional with 23 years of experience in roles ranging from Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP), U.S. Compliance Manager and, currently, Talent Manager. Each role she takes on is a new challenge and an opportunity to continually develop her skills to become an even stronger HR professional. June thrives from helping her customers solve problems to achieve desired outcomes. Check out her tips on developing your career. 

Development comes in many forms and is widely available at Caterpillar. But before you begin, it is important to set aside some time for self-reflection. During this time, ask yourself:

  • What is your goal? 
  • What skills do you want to develop to help you achieve that goal?

Once you have more insight into your goal, you can begin thinking about your development and the actions you need to take to get there.

There are three main ways we learn.  

  • Experiential Learning
    • Experiential learning includes learning through experiences such as volunteering to lead a project or team meeting.  The majority of learning will come from experiences.  
      • EXAMPLE: “I learn something new every day in my role and generally it is because I am involved in different types of projects, but I also learn during meetings I attend,” said June.
  • Learning from Others
    • You can also learn from others. This type of learning is learning that is gained from your co-workers or someone from another area or team. 
      • EXAMPLE: “I have had a lot of people reach out to me over the years for informational sessions. I provided an overview of my role and department I was working in, the skills needed to be successful in the role and what career path I had taken to get to the role,” said June.
  • Formal Education
    • Formal education is also a great way to develop our skills and can be particularly helpful when we are learning something brand new or a niche skill.
      • EXAMPLE: “In my current role, I have developed my skills through experiential learning and learning from others,” said June. “However, when starting a brand-new role overseeing our government compliance program, I attended formal learning programs because the subject area was very niche, and we did not have resources internally to learn from.”    

Take Action

Now that you know more about the different types of development, it is time to act. A strong development plan will contain all three types of development. Development goals should be specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and timely (SMART). Your goals should include action steps, a timeline and criteria for success.

It is important to follow up on progress throughout the year to ensure you are adjusting your plan as necessary to meet your career goals.

June in front of Cat Rental Truck