Current training for science PhD students and postdoctoral fellows doesn't necessarily prepare them for the careers they will eventually have as more and more people trained in science seek jobs outside of academia. Bruce Alberts, the editor in chief of Science, and Jim Austin, the editor of Science Careers, write that individual development plans could help make sure graduate students and postdocs get the training they need. They note that government agencies and private sector organizations have used such IDP plans to set goals for employees. "The aim is to ensure that employees have an explicit tool to help them understand their own abilities and aspirations, determine career possibilities, and set (usually short-term) goals," Alberts and Austin write. "In science, graduate students and new PhD scientists can use an IDP to identify and navigate an effective career path."
A related article, also at Science Careers, presents an interactive tool, called myIDP, to help scientists develop their own plan. The tool is based on the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's Individual Development Plan for Postdoctoral Fellows, and contains four steps: self-evaluation, exploration of possible careers and identification of preferred careers, setting goals to attain that preferred career, and putting the plan in motion.