Career Plan: How to Make One

Looking for a career change? Trying to get your first job? Just out of school? Recently been downsized? You’ve come to the right place! A career plan is written strategy which helps clarify individual skills and interests and outlines the training required to reach career goals.

According to Mapping Your Future, a career plan sharpens the planner’s focus and even helps with writing a resume and explaining your skills to potential employers. Career plans can be written according to several different formats, but ultimately they contain the chosen career and the steps required to get to it. A career goal may be a specific job, such as a “pediatrician,” or may be more general such as “a career in medicine.” To some extent, the content of the plan depend on the stage of life of the planner. A high school student may not be completely decided on a specific career, and may not even be sure about their job aptitudes.

Career Plan: Deciding on a Career

A student ready to start college will probably have a specific job in mind, though many college students adjust their major after they enroll and learn more about their field of interest. A career plan is not written in stone, and changing circumstances may require modifications of the plan. A free job aptitude test, the (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential) is available online from Assessments. Net contains many resources for career exploration, such as help with finding occupations, detailed information on jobs, and even occupations based on specific tools or software.

Career Plan: How to Reach the Goal

After exploring career options and deciding on a job or a field of employment, research the training required. The Occupational Outlook Handbook lists thousands of jobs and up-to-date information on prospects for future job growth and average rates of pay. It also lists the educational requirements for various levels of the specific job. For example, if the goal is to become a counselor, OOH list many types of counselors and the education, licensing, and working conditions for each. After determining the education and training required, research into colleges or technical schools will determine the next step.

Career Plan Basics

The Career Plan will list the career goal, the requirements, current skills and interests, and the plan to reach the goal. This can be a one page document with bulleted points, or a longer document with subheads and paragraphs. It should be regarded as a living document and can be updated as circumstances change. The process of creating the plan will help the planner focus and stay on track toward the goal.

The plan should be reviewed regularly in order to not only reinforce the goal and check personal progress, but also to make any changes that changing interests.

Stay tuned for career tips and hints, as well as suggestions to help you get where you want, when you want – in your ongoing career. Future articles will cover job searches, resumes, applications, cover letters, interviews and career sites – as well as how they pertain to your lifestyle and personal goals.

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