How To Plan Your Career Path


How To Map A Clear Career Plan

How to Choose the Right Career Path in 7 Simple Steps

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

For many people, planning for a career stops either upon graduation or when they are hired at their first “real” job. Later in life, they may realize that extending their career plan would have been a better choice than ending it so early. Having a plan for achieving your short- and long-term goals can help you identify your strengths, increase your confidence and urge you to take control of your own path. This article will define what a career plan is and provide guidelines for creating a career plan that works for you.

Decide If You Want To Change Industries

While you are discovering more about yourself and what fulfilling work means to you, you should also define in what way you want to change career paths. For some, switching careers might mean starting over in an adjacent industry or a completely new one, while others may seek a new occupation within the same industry.

Example:Monica, a multimedia advertising sales representative for a television network, might lean on her sales skills to get a job as a donor relations manager for a home health care nonprofit. Monica would be using applicable occupational skills to change industries from broadcasting to health and personal care.

The donor relations manager that Monica replaced, Natalie, used her financial and administrative experience from being in the role to secure a job as a controller for a hospice service. In this example, Natalie stayed in the health and personal care industry, but changed occupations.

Related: How To Change Your Industry in 6 Steps

Easy Steps For Creating A Career Plan

Creating a detailed career plan is one of the most useful things you can do to identify where you are, where you want to be and how to get there.

If youre not completely sure of your professional direction or your next career move, a written plan can provide clarity to your situation and set up a framework for your career development.

With that in mind, here are five steps to creating your own career plan.

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What Should Go Into Your Long

An ideal long-term plan will focus on elements of your career planning that are relatively stable, but also relevant to your choice of next steps.

We find having some hypotheses about which global problem areas you want to focus on is usually a useful element of a plan . This is because problem areas are specific enough to help you pick out a long-term direction thats much higher impact, and therefore to help you spot good next steps and build career capital in a coherent direction. However, problem areas are not so narrow that small changes in the situation will mean you need to change your plan . Weve also found that in practice we and many other groups in effective altruism find problem areas a useful unit of analysis. This old blog post is out-of-date, but contains some more thoughts.

To help inform the above, its also useful to have an understanding of your greatest strengths and personal preferences.

If you have more time, it can also be useful to write about the moral values and big picture principles that underlie your choice of problem area. These tend to be more stable than your choice of problem, though are too high-level to be applied to most decisions. Wed also encourage you to write out the ingredients you want in a job from a personal perspective.

If all this gets too much, come back to your next step, and make it a good one.

Identify Your Main Barriers

Pin on Career Preparation

Now, this part about your career development plan is the hardest to outline clearly.

You can choose to divide this part into two distinctive parts. The first part can be devoted to the barriers within you, i.e., your characteristics or habits that might come in your way. The second part can be devoted to the external obstacles you might face to achieve your short-term and long-term goals.

To make it a lot more detailed and planned, outline how to tackle internal and external barriers.

With internal obstacles, you can follow routines that can help you eliminate them or, at the very least, dilute them to the extent that they dont pose a threat to your career progress.

With external barriers, you can make separate plans to tackle one by one after doing some research, which will also help you clarify your problem statements.

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Finding Support For Your Career Development

Your career goals may feel personal, but that doesnât mean you have to pursue them on your own. In fact, your interest in career development planning is good for your employerâcompanies that partner with employees on career growth tend to improve employee retention and decrease turnover. So if youâre comfortable letting them in on your plans, you can foster a mutually productive relationship by seeking support within your organization.

Some people within your company who may support your career development might be:

  • Your manager may be willing to assign you projects or offer opportunities that can directly support your goals.

  • Your HR or People Ops representative may have additional tools available to support your growth.

  • Cross-functional colleagues whose role or work style you admire may be willing to let you assist on upcoming projects if your goals relate to their line of work.

If you arenât comfortable sharing your goals with anyone within your organization or if your goals donât pertain to the work youâre currently doing, you can also seek support elsewhere. For example:

Is It Okay To Choose A Nonlinear Career Path

Women are increasingly choosing nonlinear career paths, which means that you can build your own version of successeven if it doesnt look like the typical picture of career progress. Okafor champions women who choose to build non-traditional careers. Simply put, walk in your truth, always show up as your most authentic self, and never compare your journey to someone else. Thats it!

The same is true for changing careers. According to an InHerSight study in 2019, 73 percent of women want to change careers. Okafor, who asserts that women are in control of their careers, has personal experience in transitioning careers. I pivoted from higher education to tech. I dont have a formal education in technology however, it has always been an interest of mine. The innovation and creativity of it all aligns with some of my values so I decided, why not pursue it? Im not against stepping back into the field of higher education, but I was simply ready to try something new and step outside of my comfort zone. I connected with those within my network for support, and I attended networking events to meet new people within the field, and had informational interviews with them to see if it was a pivot that I really wanted to pursue. I would advise other women to do similarly as I did: Do your research, be clear on your values, strengths/areas of growth, and network!

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S To Organized Career Planning

Determining long-term goals for your career can feel overwhelming. Once you have an action plan, though, it can accelerate your growth and streamline your efforts. Its worth taking the time to commit your ideas to paper .

So where do you begin with career planning? Follow these 7 steps:

  • Self-evaluation
  • Identify organizations that align with your values
  • Look at job openings on the ground level
  • Take the right next step
  • Tell everyone you know
  • Now lets dive a little deeper into each of these.

  • Self-evaluation Self-assessment is the first step of the career planning process. You can try a personality assessment or aptitude test, like BetterUps Whole Person Assessment. You may also find a core values assessment to be worthwhile in exploring how to integrate your values and your career. Talking to a coach or a career counselor is also a great way to gain insight into your strengths and where you might thrive. Be sure to take enough time for self-exploration in this first step, or you may find yourself unhappy with your career decisions later on.
  • Research your dream job

    Be bold with your goal-setting at this stage in the process. In a perfect world, what would you do for a living? Do a job search on Linkedin for the title that you want to have. Read the job description, paying close attention to the skills and responsibilities of the position. Who do they report to? How much education do they have? What kind of companies are hiring for that role?

  • Get Ideas And Inspiration

    Developing a S.M.A.R.T. Career Plan
    • AllAboutCareers – career exploration, jobs and advice
    • Graduate-Jobs – research job descriptions to understand what that job entails, what the essential skills are and the typical salaries.
    • Prospects – view a comprehensive degree subject list to find out which career paths are directly related to what you studied.

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    When To Start The Career Planning Process

    The best time to engage in the career planning process is long before you start your job search. Your senior year of high school and the first year or two of college are great times to start thinking about what kinds of jobs and careers youre interested in. You can then test-drive them through classes, internships, certification programs and virtual work experiences to gain a fuller understanding of what theyre really like, discard the jobs you dislike, and further explore the ones you connect with.

    While most career planning happens at the beginning of your career, its not a one-and-done deal. Career planning should happen throughout your entire career. Periodically assessing where you are and where youre going allows you to adjust your plans to help you accomplish your career goals or even pivot to new ones.

    Consider Educational Resources And Develop New Skills

    If youre considering moving into a field that requires a degree or certifications, you may need to seek additional education beyond your current work experience. College courses, continuing-education classes or even free online resources can help deepen your understanding of your new potential career.

    If youre employed, find opportunities at your current job to gain the skills you need to make a career change. For example, a marketer who wants to move into finance may ask for control over the marketing budget to gain skills regarding working with ledgers. Seizing opportunities like this is helpful, but only if you remember to apply those newly gained skills to your resume and cover letter.

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    Meet A Careers Advisor

    Our professional and friendly Careers Advisers are here to help you figure out a plan for your career. Maybe you know what you want to do and need to talk about how to get there? Perhaps you simply dont have a clue what might suit you? If youre after an understanding ear and expert advice, email us at .

    Compare Possible Career Paths


    Once you’ve created a list of possible career paths and benefits, you can compare and contrast your options. For example, one career may pay more than another but requires more financial investment in additional education. Besides financial and practical considerations, think about what career path can contribute to your personal happiness by matching your core values and giving you a sense of fulfilment. One career may offer financial security but may not be sustainable if you don’t enjoy the work.

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    Take A Personal Inventory

    Start a journal. First, consider your reactions to your current job and how they impact your job satisfaction. Write down recurring themes, notable events and how they make you feel. Ask yourself tough questions like, What is it about my job that I do or dont like? Answer them, then read your answers. From your own notes, youll begin to see a picture of what job satisfaction looks like for you.

    During this time, youll also want to take a personal inventory of skills, values and interests pertinent to the work you enjoy. Consider times youve been successful and think about what you were doingbe it a job, volunteer situation, internship or something else. Determine what skills contributed to your success and how they can apply to various roles you might be interested in.

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    Some Arguments In Favour Of Long

    All this said, we dont think that means you should ignore which long term options might be best, and think its usually a mistake not to have a long-term plan at all. Ideal planning involves both working forwards from your current opportunities, and working backwards from where youd like to end up.

    In general in life, it seems more useful to have a plan, even if its very uncertain. This still seems true even in rapidly changing, adversarial domains, like strategy in business strategy, the military or politics.

    This is because having some specific long-term plans in mind might help you spot low-cost ways to direct your next steps in a better direction. For instance, it can help you come up with better ideas for next steps, accumulate more relevant career capital, and carry out tests of potential long-term options.

    Sometimes you can avoid putting lots of time into going down a path you could confidently rule out if you thought about it more.

    In fact, we think that for people who want to maximise their impact, its likely more important than normal to have long-term plans, and usually a mistake not to have any.

    The highest-impact roles also often require other forms of specialised career capital, such as experience in particular areas of policy, or research skills in specific fields, or connections with people who work in these areas.

    This testing out feels pretty different from a vague plan to build career capital, any career capital, which we sometimes come across.

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    How To Choose The Right Career Path For You In 9 Steps

    The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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    Learn how to get clarity into your ideal career and start pursuing that path immediately in this virtual workshop with Tracy Timm, founder of Thrivist.

    When you were young and people asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, they were asking about your desired career path. Some career paths are straightforward but others may include detours along the way. Actively choosing a career path, however, is a great way to attain the right education and experiences and build the right skills. To do so, its important to reflect on your interests and career goals as you make certain life choices, such as which school to attend, which entry-level job is right for you, or whether to obtain a post-graduate degree or specialized certification.

    In this article, we explain how to choose a career path by identifying your key skills and interests, matching those qualities to a potential industry and starting a career.

    Discover Growing Job Markets

    Career Mapping 101: Strategically Planning Your Career Path

    A growing job market is a job field that is currently generating more positions than it has in the past. It can also refer to career fields where the average salary is consistently increasing. It may be easier to get a job or earn promotions in growing job markets because of the increase in opportunity. Try talking with experts in the field to learn about any exciting developments that are happening. You can also subscribe to industry-specific newsletters and publications to stay updated on current events.

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    Start With Your Values

    To discover what you really want to do and whether youre on the right track now or need to switch direction ask these fundamental questions about your personality, preferences and values:

    • What motivates me and what do I enjoy doing?
    • What are my personal attributes and lifestyle priorities?
    • What do my family and friends see as my strengths and weaknesses?
    • What are the five important factors or non-negotiables I am looking for in a job?

    What Is A Career Path For Employees

    Career paths are long-term plans that lead to an employees desired outcome. It could be a specific position within the company or a career trajectory. The career path an employee takes determines the skills they learn and the mentorship they receive to reach their goals.

    Creating employee career paths results in:

    • Employees with stronger hard and soft skills
    • Lower turnover rates
    • Lower employee onboarding and training costs
    • Higher employee satisfaction

    Furthermore, employees are eager to grow in their roles. Some 91 percent of employees say they would stay longer with a company if it invested in their career. If a manager suggests a course to take, 56 percent of employees would enroll in it.

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    Set Clear Career Goals

    Now you know where you want to go, its time to set some goals. Ask yourself the following questions to help break down your goals into smaller, more manageable milestones for your career plan:

    • What do I want to achieve within the next six, 12 and 18 months?
    • How and when will I achieve my training and education goals?
    • How and when will I gain the additional skills and experience I need?
    • How can I expand my network, and by when?

    The SMART goal methodology is useful for setting professional development goals that are achievable and tied to real-world outcomes:

    • Specific: Be as precise and clear as possible about what you want to achieve.
    • Measurable: Have criteria in place to measure how youre progressing towards your goal.
    • Achievable: Your goal should be achievable within a certain timeframe.
    • Realistic: Make sure your goal can genuinely be accomplished.
    • Time-based: Have a deadline or timeframe for reaching your goal.

    Example: I will enrol in X course and ensure I am qualified to work in Y area within six months. After getting qualified, I will apply for a minimum of three jobs in Y area per month. My ultimate goal is to be working in Y area within 12 months.

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