Competency Category:
Competency Series:

11.3 – Help Client Develop Goals and Action Plans

Purpose & Context

Career Development Professionals (CDPs) meet with clients regularly to help them to articulate meaningful goals and action plans based on their aspirations, preferences, and employability strengths and needs.CDPs work collaboratively with clients to help make career choices and develop goals and action plans. This helps ensure clients are engaged and making informed decisions.

Effective Performance

Competent career development professionals must be able to:

  • P1. Prepare for interview, e.g. review employability assessment notes
  • P2. Obtain informed consent for collection, use and disclosure of information
  • P3. Confirm outcomes of previous meeting, where applicable
  • P4. Outline methods of exploring career options, for example:
    • Access labour market information
    • Explore sectors of activities
    • Conduct information interviews with employers, employees, students, family members and/or support network
    • Explore education and training options
  • P5. Relate findings to career choices, for example:
    • Assess suitability of options
    • Articulate an initial goal, recognizing it may change as more information is gathered
    • Establish a plan of action
    • Evaluate as needed
  • P6. Articulate career goals with client:
    • Prioritize goals with client
    • Verify goals reflect client needs and abilities, e.g. achievable, meaningful, tangible
  • P7.Explore possible actions to achieve goals, e.g. self-guided activities, CDP interventions, community programs
  • P8. Develop action plan with client:
    • Reiterate career goals
    • Select actions
    • List actions identified to achieve each goal
    • Prioritize actions
    • Break down actions into tasks
    • Identify potential challenges and possible solutions
    • Identify resources and support required for each task
    • Agree on timelines and milestones
  • P9. Track progress and results, e.g. contacts gained, activities undertaken, job applications submitted, interviews
  • P10. Revisit goals and action plan regularly
  • P11. Evaluate outcomes

Knowledge & Understanding

Competent career development professionals must know and understand:

  • K1. Principles of action planning, e.g. breaking down steps, ensuring adequate time and supports, monitoring and
    acknowledging progress, adjusting as needed
  • K2. External factors that affect education and employment, e.g. economic forecasts, local labour market
  • K3. Significant issues commonly faced by clients, e.g. poverty, systemic racism, post-traumatic stress, learning
    disabilities, unstable/unsafe housing, food insecurity, mental health challenges, addiction, limited
  • K4. Occupational information sources, support services, training, and educational options
  • K5. Legislation and regulations relating to employment, e.g. Human Rights Legislation, Canada Labour Code, Privacy Act,
    Workers Compensation Act and Employment Standards, Health and Safety regulations

Contextual Variables

Competent career development professionals must be able to perform this competency in the following range of contexts:

CDPs must accommodate clients who may have difficulty communicating their strengths and needs and/or understanding the information presented, either because of language used or other factors that might limit communication/cognitive function.

Glossary & Key References


Industry-specific terms contained in the standard defined here, where applicable.

Informed consent: client’s right to be informed, understand, and agree to the services to be provided, roles and responsibilities of the service providers and how information collected during the process will released to others and for what purpose. Signed consent is required as proof of consent. Informed consent is obtained at the beginning of a process and may be required again if the nature of the services provided are later updated or revised.

Information Sources and Resources for Consideration

Canadian Career Development Foundation, PRIME 2.0 (Performance Recording Instrument for Meaningful Evaluation) tool, 2019 Edition

Shepard, B. C., & Mani, P.S. (Eds.). Career development practice in Canada: Perspectives, principles, and professionalism. Toronto, ON: CERIC, 2014.

Zunker, Vernon G. Career Counselling: A Holistic Approach. 9th Edition. Boston: MA: Cengage Learning, 2016. ISBN 13: 978-1-305-08728-6

Context Rating Scales


Q: What is the consequence of a professional being unable to perform this skill according to the standard?

Moderate risk: CRITICAL


Q: How frequent and under what conditions is this skill performed?

Routinely, regular course of procedure

Level of Difficulty

Q: Under routine circumstances, how would you rate the level of difficulty in performing this skill?

Moderate difficulty or complexity

Time Required to Gain Proficiency

Q: What is the average length of time or number of repeated events that are minimally necessary for an individual to become proficient in performing the skill to the standard?

A competent career development professional requires a minimum of one year of experience with at least 40 different clients, representing a broad range of individuals.


Practitioners typically perform this competency without supervision, and alone.


It is somewhat likely that this competency will automate.

Requisite Work Aids, Tools, Equipment or Materials


Career Development Professional Centre

Help us cultivate a community we all enjoy by reviewing and following the Code of Conduct.  

Our Purpose  

Thank you for being a part of the online CDPC social learning community. To ensure that all members have the best possible experience, we have a few ground rules that we ask everyone to adhere to. This code of conduct applies equally to every person in the community and is intended to foster an online space that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all. 

Community Rules 

Be welcoming 

We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. We aim to create and facilitate a community that promotes excellence and innovation in career and workforce development. Please extend respect to all members; we all come from different backgrounds and levels of knowledge and there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Be respectful 

We won’t all agree all the time, but when we disagree don’t let those disagreements turn into personal attacks. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened will not be a productive one. Instead, when having discussions in the online community, create productive conversations around the content being presented, not the person behind the content. Any post that is determined to be “hate speech” towards any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation.  

Hate Speech could include and is not limited to:  

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person 
  • Discriminatory jokes, language, or materials 
  • Defamatory or abusive language or materials 
  • Profane or illegal materials 
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior 

A good rule of thumb is to never post anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world seeing or that you wouldn’t want anyone knowing came from you. We ask that you keep in mind the focus of this community, which is building excellence and innovation in career and workforce development for all individuals.  

Be considerate of the purpose of the community 

This community will be focused on building excellence and discussing innovation in the career and workforce development field. The goal of this community is to communicate goals, challenges, constructive feedback, and questions in relation to career and workforce development. The community should be a place for continued learning and development as well as a place to discuss the future of our field (solicitation without written consent by the Project or Advisory team, is strictly prohibited). Any post that is determined to be soliciting any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation. 

Post your discussions or documents in the most appropriate group or topic 

Make reasonable efforts to ensure that posts and materials are allocated to the appropriate group or topic. This will prevent cluttering the community and make it easier for everyone to find the information that they are seeking. Individuals who do this repeatedly will be contacted by one of the group admins and asked to follow these guidelines.  

Privacy and Release of Information  

CDPC-CEDC will not release your information to any third-party agencies.  

Group Admins 

There are four group admins who are available to you. Below are their names and their spoken language. 

Heather Powell | Anglophone 

Gabrielle St-Cyr | Francophone/Anglophone 

Florence Desrochers | Francophone/Anglophone

Muriel Andoblé-Yao | Francophone

Thank you and welcome to the CDPC Community!