Individual Development Plan
Postdocs and their mentors are encouraged to create and maintain an Individual Development Plan (IDP). An IDP functions as a road map that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives. It also serves as a tool to facilitate communication between mentee and mentor, and it can be a useful component of a broader mentoring program. Writing an IDP involves:
- Reflecting on one’s progress during the past year
- Assessing strengths and weaknesses
- Setting goals for the upcoming year
- Carefully considering long-term career interests
Outline of the IDP Process:
The development, implementation, and revision of the IDP require a series of steps to be conducted by the mentee, followed by discussion with his/her mentor. These steps call for an interactive effort; ideally, both mentee and mentor will fully participate in the process.
Development: Conduct an assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, and skills. State your career goals and write your annual IDP.
Implementation: Schedule an appointment with your mentor to discuss your skills assessment and IDP. Implement the steps in your annual IDP to the best of your ability.
Revision: Periodically review progress with your mentor. Rewrite your IDP annually. Modify your career objectives as necessary.
IDP Samples and Resources
myIDP Interactive web-based toold developed by the AAAS to help facilitate career development and the formation of Individual Development Plans by postdocs, grad students, and their mentors.
- Exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values
- A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests
- A tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track
- Articles and resources to guide you through the process
There is no charge to use this site.
Paper-based Templates and Guides:
Sample 1 Comprehensive: Comprehensive 10 page document that outlines the IDP process and provides specific steps for Postdocs and Mentors (from Penn St. University)
Sample 2 Open-Ended: Open ended 5 page document that allows postdocs to answer questions regarding their current and future goals, training, and plans. (adapted from Vanderbilt University)
Sample 3 Short: 2 page document to indicate goals, objectives, and target dates for completion. (adapted from University of Wisconsin)
Career Planning Resources from the National Postdoc Association
Mentoring Plans for Postdoctoral Scholars