Why planning your career is important
By taking time out to make strategic decisions and plan your working life at the beginning or your career you can ensure that:

  • You don’t drift aimlessly from one job to another.
  • That you do not end up in a job that you hate.
  • You maximize your earning potential by working in a job that pays you the most.

Make sure your plans are realistic and not over ambitious. Career planning should be a on going and flexible process throughout your working life.

There are a number of stages to basic career planning, they are: 
Short term career planning
This is where you plan your career for the next 5 years.

Long term career planning
The next stage is to plan your career from 5 years to 10 years ahead.

STAGE 1 – Do a self assessment
Do a SWOT analysis of yourself to identify your abilities, knowledge, constraints / weaknesses and also strengths. An analysis will also help you decide what sort of work you want to do, and in which industries.

STAGE 2 – Decide on a career
Explore various careers, make a list of the types of job roles you would prefer to work in, remember to make sure they are realistic objectives.

  • Think about what sort of work you actually enjoy doing.
  • Decide what salary you want to earn.

STAGE 3 – Research your chosen roles
Once you’ve decided on what you want to do then start collecting as much information as possible about the available job roles. Research the job profiles and get to the know the work conditions, activities, salary, duties and responsibilities.

STAGE 4 – Review your career plan – is it realistic?
Do you have the required qualifications, skills, abilities or experience for your chosen career?

  • If not could you realistically get the training and qualifications?
  • How long would it take for you to get trained up and what would be the cost in time and money?

STAGE 5 – Set your career goals and develop a career plan
If after going through all of the above stages you are confident and happy about your choices, then you are now ready to complete your career planning. Set targets, create a action list and have time limits for achieving each goal or stage.

STAGE 6 – Review your progress
Regularly review your progress and ensure that you are hitting your set goals and targets. Be flexible with your plan and have contingencies in place.

Related career planning topics:

Career advice

Career change

Career training 

Choosing a career

Disclosing a criminal conviction on your CV 

Job profiles

Working abroad