A career plan lists short- and long-term career goals and the actions you can take to achieve them. Career plans can help you make decisions about what classes to take, and identify the extracurricular activities, research, and internships that will make you a strong job candidate.
Below are some helpful steps to guide you in creating a career plan customized to your interests and ambitions. Still have questions? We are here to help — set up an appointment with a Career Advisor to get started or review your plan.
10 Steps to an Effective Career Plan
- Identify Your Career possibilities. Develop a list of career possibilities by examining your interests, hard and soft skills and personal values through self-assessment. Narrow your options by checking career information, companies and talking to professionals in the field if you can. Always be learning from your mistakes to make the most of second chance opportunities.
- Prioritize your career options. After build a list, you have to prioritize. What are your top transferable skills? What interests you the most? What’s most important to you?
- Make Comparisons between options. Compare your most career options against your list of prioritized skills, interests and values but also consider factors. What is the current demand? What qualifications are needed? Will it require additional education or training?How will impact your each career in your life? Is it compatible with your family situation? Is it compatible with your personality and life style? Gather advice from friends, colleagues, and family members.
- Job Shadow. If you can talk to someone within your preferred occupation, or even better, shadow someone at work. A first-hand view about this occupation and profession is very beneficial to confirm your choice. Be careful and keep private your long-term career goals.
- Make a Choice. Choose the best career paths for you. How many paths you choose depends upon your situation and comfort level. 1, 2, 3 depends on your personal situation. I don’t recommend more than 3 as it’s difficult to follow several paths and it’s better to narrow your choices. Meet with a Career Advisor could help you to make the right decision.
- Set “SMART” Goals. Now that you’ve identified your career options, develop an action plan to implement this decision. Identify specific, time-bound goals and steps to accomplish your plan. Set short-term goals (to be achieved in one year or less) and long-term goals (to be achieved in one to five years).
- Specific — Identify your goal clearly and specifically.
- Measurable — Include clear criteria to determine progress and accomplishment.
- Attainable — The goal should have a 50 percent or greater chance of success.
- Relevant — The goal is important and relevant to you.
- Time bound — Commit to a specific timeframe.
- Create Your Career Action Plan. It’s important to be realistic about expectations and timelines. Write down specific action steps to take to achieve your goals and help yourself stay organized.
- Map your career path. Mapping your career could be a very good option to visualize and understand your choices.
- Gain Experience and Network. Getting the education needed is not independent of the others. While you are studying or working, look for mentors who can guide, advise you and provide connections to job opportunities. This makes the experience more motivating, satisfying and rewarding because it connects you to the community you want to join.
- Plan for Life-Long Learning. Today no one should assume that their education is completed when they finish their formal schooling and enter the workforce. The best source of bargaining power individual workers can muster is to keep their skills up-to-date. Consider free and paid courses as well as internal education/training in your company always keeping an eye on your future career goals.By following these steps you can set yourself up for a life-long career and remember to come back to your plan an adapt it to your reality, we change, world change our planning should change.