30 60 90 Day Plan: What It Is And Examples

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 3, 2020
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If you’re serious about achieving your goals, then you might already be familiar with the concept of a 30-60-90 day plan. You can use this approach to accomplish just about anything, within reason. We’re going to talk about how your 3-month plan can take you from starting a new job to being one of the top-hires a company has. And it all begins at the interview.

What Is a 30-60-90 Day Plan?

The idea is pretty simple: you have a starting point, which is the first day. Then, you create an idea of where you want to be at the endpoint, the 90th day. To create a 30-60-90 day plan, you break out your goals across those three months to come up with an actionable map that leads to the desired result.

To use one to better your career, you create it before the interview. Then, when you meet with a prospective employer, you share it with them. This details exactly what they can expect from you and the results you’re committed to achieving.

This will not only completely wow the interviewer, but it’s also something you should already have. Every time you’re considering a new job, along with writing a resume, you should create a 30-60-90 day plan for the position. This will be your strategy document, and it is your customized roadmap to professional success.

The Benefits of a 30-60-90 Day Plan

A 30-60-90 day plan is nothing new, but it’s not often brought into the interview process. By approaching a new job with this in hand, you’re ahead of the competition in so many ways. One of the big ways you’re making a great impression is by using presupposition. This means you’re already assuming you’ll get the job. In fact, you’re so sure of it, you went through the extra effort to figure out how to succeed. How can an employer turn that down?

There are a lot of additional benefits to a detailed plan:

  • Deeper understanding of the job and what’s required

  • Thoughtful contemplation about how to achieve goals within the position

  • Demonstrates boundless enthusiasm

  • Expresses your knowledge of the role and your expertise

  • Uses out-of-the-box thinking to prompt important interview discussions

  • Puts you in charge of the interview process

  • Displays a work ethic in action before you’re even hired

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
  • You’ve already proven your value and worth

  • Presupposition has the employer imagining you in the position – have the competition try to top that

How to Create a 30-60-90 Day Plan

So that all sounds wonderful. But it also sounds like a lot of work. And how do you even know what the employer wants from you on day 90? The answer to that question might be more obvious than you realize. Turn to the job description.

  1. Use the Job Description. A good job description will tell you what you’re expected to do. They might not reveal specific goals, but you don’t necessarily need specifics. For instance, let’s say the job description wants someone to manage their social media presence, then one of your goals will be to increase viewership or followers on social media. If the job is for a productivity manager in a factory, you want to streamline productivity and see an increase.

    Now, work through that description with a fine-toothed comb. Pull out all of the tasks it mentions or skills that are required and try to logically determine what they’d like to see from you. You also need to be practical and create goals that you can achieve. You can’t promise more than is possible, or you’re just setting yourself up to fail.

  2. Focus and Priorities. Don’t worry; your plan does not have to be very detailed or specific. Not at the interview phase anyway. You want to zero in on some key areas where you think you can do a good job. This might have to do with the company achieving goals, or it could be you personally achieving goals as an employee. Pull out a few priorities and focus on them.

  3. Pick Your Goals. Most 30-60-90 day plans categorize goals into four different areas:

    • Learning goals. Training can take some time, and it’s difficult. Creating a timeline for learning can help.

    • Performance goals. What are you expected to do at your job, and can you go above and beyond?

    • Initiative goals. How will you take the helm in your position and stand out?

    • Personal goals. Are you integrating into the team and company culture?

    This can be the most challenging part of the plan, but it’s also where you’re going to showcase your work. The goal area will form a significant portion of your final plan.

  4. Support Your Goals. You’ve picked a few goals you think the company wants or you want. The focus is on your learning goals, performance goals, initiative goals, and personal career goals.

    You have spelled out what they are, and now you need to figure out how to get there. Bullet pointing your process is usually the best way to go. You might want to create a list of things that need to happen to hit the goals. Your situation might require steps in order. Whatever the situation, break down your process.

    This is where your individual skills and background can shine. If you have specific experience doing one of the steps, make sure to mention it. Note how you’ve succeeded in the past and explain why that process is a proven winner. You’re better at this than the other candidates; tell them why.

    Note that this area is vital for your purposes; it’s how you will fill in your 30-60-90 day plan. This is the process you’re going to use and break down to get to the results. Try making a worksheet for this step and then plugging in the bullets in the three sections.

  5. The First 30 Days. Finally, we’re getting into the meat of this. It’s important to pick goals and understand how to achieve them before writing this section. Now, you’re heading into a new job, and you’ve got to play it slowly at first. You’ve got onboarding to do, you need to learn the culture, and you don’t want to come across too pushy at first.

    This should be your understanding and baseline phase. You want to learn the ropes in your job. Get an idea of where things stand, what the past productivity was like, and begin to make practical goals. Keeping your plan fluid and flexible is important. Redefining your 30-60-90 day goals, based on on-the-job experience, should be one of your goals.

  6. 60 Days (or the Middle 30 Days). So, you’re pretty familiar with the company, the people, and the process at this point. You’ve got some great goals that are now truly lined up with what your employer desires. It’s time to evaluate. This entire period should be dedicated to evaluating processes, people, customers, etc. It’s time to see what’s working and what isn’t and where there’s room for improvement.

  7. 90 Days (or the Last 30 Days). Your last 30 days of the plan are about implementing the new procedures and beginning to track the improvements or changes.

  8. Create Measurements of Success. Somewhere in your plan, you’ll need to have a way to measure success. This might be something you develop in step one, step two, etc. It can come about at just about any point when you see how to prove and measure success.

Remember that you can create a 30-60-90 day plan for anyone and any job. You don’t have to be a high-level executive with a plan to save the company from bankruptcy. Your goals can be related to learning the job, inside and out. They can be initiative goals and a description of how you’ll step into a position of leadership or value for the company. You can even take this approach into your regular life and create personal goals.

It’s All Part of a SMART Approach

The SMART technique is very popular in business, probably partially because the acronym is so clever. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. If your goals fall within those parameters, they’ll make an excellent addition to your 30-60-90 day plan. In fact, they can even guide the creation in a way that makes it easy to write.

How to Use a 30-60-90 Day Plan

It is often very beneficial to come into a job interview with a 30-60-90 day plan and present it to the interviewer. It shows them how serious you are about the job and that you’ve already got ideas to do it better, or at least to the best of your ability.

You might be interviewing with a hiring manager. If it’s not someone who heads the division or a specific department manager, it’s best to create a leave-behind plan that can be passed on to that person.

A key is not to get defensive about your plan in the interview. Remember, it’s very preliminary as you don’t know much about the company’s ins and outs. Be flexible, versatile, and ready to change directions.

When you have the job – pull out your plan and begin revising it. You might want to show it to your manager along the way. This can help you both to stay on track with their goals and your career goals. Expect to make a lot of changes to it in the beginning. Eventually, it’ll be a perfect guide for getting stuff done.

Template for a 30-60-90 Day Plan

The following is a very basic 30-60-90 day template. Yours will get more involved and specific to your career track, but it’s still a useful starting point.

30-60-90 Day Plan

Name ________________________________________
Company _____________________________________

30 Days (Date Range)

Summary of your priorities:

Goals Measurement/Metrics Notes

60 Days (Date Range)

Summary of your priorities:

Goals Measurement/Metrics Notes

90 Days (Date Range)

Summary of your priorities:

Goals Measurement/Metrics Notes

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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