Career planning is an essential part of what you do when you are thinking about a new career, or you would like to progress in the career you are in.
You may be looking for a complete change, or just improve where you are at the moment.
Planning needs time, as there are several things to consider. When you are planning, you need to think about:
- What you can do already
- What you'd like to do next
- What else you need to learn
An action plan is a series of steps that can take you towards your goal. Action plans can help you to work towards your target and stay on track. Sometimes working towards a far-off target can seem impossible. Action plans can break things down into manageable pieces.
To create an action plan, have a look at the following steps and use the ones you feel would be useful:
- Think about which format will be most effective for you; do you work better with Word documents? Excel or a pen and paper?
- Describe your current situation; This should help you identify whether you are happy in your current role and seeking further development or whether you are looking for a complete career change
- Identify your skills and work goals. It may help to highlight parts of your current role you particularly enjoy or parts you don’t enjoy and use this as a guide when identifying new opportunities
- Set a long-term goal and some short-term goals that will enable you to reach this long-term goal.
Writing an effective action plan:
- When you set short and long-term goals, it can help you to meet them if you set a target date for each of them. It's also important that you're realistic about what you can achieve. Also make sure each step has a clear action. Then you'll know exactly what to do and you won't lose focus.
- It can also help if you build in some flexibility to your action plan. Make sure you've got more than one way of reaching the same goal. It is good to have a back-up plan, especially if your main goal is a competitive or ambitious one. Sometimes, certain aims aren't possible and you come up against things beyond your control. If this happens it helps if you've got a plan B to put into practice.