6 Steps to a Successful Career Planning Process

6 Steps To A Successful Career Planning Process Motive

Following a career planning process will enable you to discover your professional strengths. Subsequently, a career plan will help you capitalize on these and find a successful career path. The career planning process applies to any career at any given point. Below, you can find the steps to take to create a career plan.

What is career planning? 

Essentially, career planning is about creating an actionable career plan for your future. First, imagine where you would like to be in 10 or 20 years. Then, break this goal down to smaller tasks. The career plan will help you make decisions and keep you focused on your ultimate goals. By identifying your passions and skills, you will find a career path that suits you. Most importantly, your career plan will bring you closer to your goals. 

Steps to career planning  

While some might only go through the career planning process once, others may revisit it. At times, you may feel as though your goals have changed, or your job is not as fulfilling as you thought. Remember, you can revisit this process at any point to align your career path with your goals. The following are the six steps you should complete when crafting a career plan:

6 Steps for career planning

  1. Self-assessment and exploration
  2. Research
  3. Experimentation
  4. Decision-making
  5. Action plan
  6. Job search and acceptance

1. Self-assessment and exploration 

Recognizing your interests, hobbies, and ambitions is a crucial part of a career plan. Although often overlooked, this step is the key to finding a delightful career path. 

In this step of the career planning process, assess your values, skills, and strengths. In particular, you should focus on: 

  • Values –  For the most part, think about your personal beliefs and priorities. Do you value solitude and peace, or are you an extrovert? Is your salary or your contribution to the world more critical? Do you care about how others will perceive you based on your job? 
  • Passions – When assessing your interests, focus on what brings you joy. These may be activities, places, people, or objects. Then, define what causes you distress or makes you uncomfortable.  
  • Characteristics – Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Do you decide with your brain or your heart? Ultimately, asking yourself these questions will help you understand the activities that make you feel fulfilled. 
  • Strengths – Assessing your abilities is crucial to choosing a career path. Perhaps, your existing strengths may be a pointer to what career field you should select. Otherwise, it may help you decide what training or education you need to have a successful career. 

2. Research  

Based on step one of your career plan, start looking for roles and industries that would suit you. By all means, narrow down the positions that you like. Most importantly, research the necessary information. That includes skills requirements, average salary, and satisfaction with the job. For example, you can do this by searching online or reaching out to those working in these roles. 

3. Experimentation 

Experimentation is a vital part of your career plan. Once you are clear on the roles that interest you, it is time to find out whether you enjoy them. Thankfully, there are many ways to do this. For example, you may consider asking those who work in your chosen role for an interview. Without a doubt, this will enable you to find out about their day-to-day activities. Or, you can try job shadowing, which allows you to get a first-hand look at the role.  

If you want to try the role out for yourself, apply for volunteer work, an internship, or a part-time job. Finally, to learn about a position and be confident that you would enjoy it, educate yourself. You can do this by finding a mentor in your field, or by taking courses that will provide you with the necessary skills. 

4. Decision-making 

Go over all your career options. By now, you should have narrowed your career plan down to only a few. Then, think of the pros and cons of each. Remember to include your enjoyment and satisfaction. Subsequently, rank your options based on your preferences. This ranking will give you a clear idea of your most preferred career path. Also, it will help you identify your second choice, should you change your mind. 

 5. Action plan 

An action career plan consists of the steps you have taken and need to take. Undoubtedly, writing down what you have already achieved will help you see your progress. Conversely, seeing the steps you still need to take will give you a clear idea of your day-to-day duties. Taking action is essential for getting fast results from your career plan. 

First, your action plan should address any obstacles and how you will overcome them. These may include a lack of skills or education, finances, or family needs. Second, it should summarize your employment history, skills, training, and certifications. Finally, your action plan should show you the steps you need to take to get started on your chosen career path. 

After taking all the steps in your career plan, you will be ready to start applying for jobs. That is to say, put together a resume, cover letter, and start networking with professionals in your field. Eventually, you will land the position of your dreams. This day will mark the beginning of an exciting and successful career path. 

In conclusion, the career planning process is a guarantee that you find a career path that suits all your needs. Moreover, it will help you get clear on the values you look for in a job. Most importantly, the career planning process will help you achieve your goals in your professional and personal life. 


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Lillian Childress

Lillian writes about hiring and employment, writer for Glassdoor, The Muse, based in New Haven. When she’s not writing about career, she covers circular economy and environmental issues for various publications.

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