What is an IDP?
Your Individual Development Plan (IDP) is designed to help you explore and identify training and career goals, and enumerate clearly defined actions to achieve these goals. The IDP is a versatile career planning tool and is recommended by the NIH as well as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.1,2
We recommend that University of Utah trainees:
- develop their IDPs as early in their training period as possible;
- revise their IDPs (goals and action plans) at least annually to reflect their most current perspectives and aspirations; and
- discuss their IDPs with their mentors at least annually
Why do you need an IDP?
Developing an IDP can help you:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses with respect to the skills required for your chosen career path
- Evaluate your career choices from a broader perspective, taking into account your skills, interests and values.
- Formulate a cohesive strategy to simultaneously achieve your personal goals, aiding your holistic development
- Conceive of an action plan that will help you achieve your career and personal goals
- Re-evaluate your goals over time, as you/your goals evolve
- Prioritize projects based on their degree of alignment with your goals
- Plan day-to-day activities based on their degree of alignment with your goals
- Frame career development-related conversations with your mentor
- Identify and apply various resources to achieve your goals
Steps for Creating and Utilizing an IDP
Step 1: Prepare your personal IDP
You can use the editable pdf or .docx forms below to get started, or use an online planner (see reference 3 below).
Step 2: Discuss your IDP with your mentors, repeat at least annually.
Once you have an IDP in place, you can use it as a framework for discussing career and training plans with your mentors. Feedback from your mentors will help you make the most of your IDP. You may choose to ask for guidance from your mentors during the IDP development process or discuss your IDP with them once you have completed a draft. You should plan to review your IDP, discuss progress on previous action items, and identify new goals and action items with your mentors at least annually.
Step 3: Make a commitment to review your IDP regularly.
The IDP is a dynamic, living document, and will be most useful to you if it serves as an honest, real-time reflection of your career and personal goals. This will require regular review and revision. Set up calendar events to remind you to review and update your IDP often, at least annually and ideally just before you meet with your mentors for an IDP discussion.