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How to Create a Career Plan

Having goals for your working future is important - if you don’t it’s likely that you’ll spend time drifting and won’t know how you’ve spent your time when you look back. You also want to make sure that you are prepared for changes in the workplace, which may involve adding additional skills to your arsenal or pivoting to a new career entirely. 

But what’s the best way of tackling your career plan? Here’s everything you need to think about to help you get your career plan on track:

Personal Overview

What does your current job description entail? What are your day-to-day duties? What do you and don’t you enjoy about the job? Do you have any expertise that makes you especially valuable? What are your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace? Does the job (and career) align with your values? What have been your big achievements? What is your employment and education history? What do you enjoy outside of work where you gain further skills?

Future Career

What does the next role up or across look like? Is there anyone higher up than you that you think you’d like their job in a few years time? Do you need to change career completely? Is there advancement for you you current career? What skills have to you got that are suited to the roles you are interested in and what do you need to develop?

Goals

What would be your next future steps? E.g.

  • Short term - 1 year - be involved with a project that develops a specific skill
  • Medium term - 3 years - gain a promotion and more responsibility in current role
  • Long term - 5 years - become team leader

Goal Setting

How are you going to achieve these goals? What further training and development are you going to need to achieve them? Is this going to be through further experience at work or are you going to have to gain qualifications on the side? By what date are you going to have achieved them? What is success going to look like? Remember to make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals so you are more likely to stick to them. 

Action Plan

You can then give yourself a step-by-step guide of the actions needed to reach your goals – including timescales against each action. Plan out your short term goal first, and break this down into smaller steps so you know what you want to achieve at each stage. You can then add new actions as you progress.

Review

Make sure that you review how your goals and actions are going every few months so that you can get yourself back on track if you have fallen behind or alter your plans if need be. 

If you keep doing these things, you’ll find that when you run into career difficulties you’ll know what your options are and where you could go next.