Career plans are not as scary as they may seem and can be quite straightforward to put together.
Creating a career plan gives you a fantastic opportunity to identify your interests and strengths so you can consider the professional opportunities that are available to you within your career while also focusing on the milestones and goals you hope to achieve over a certain period of time.
To learn more about career planning and how to create an individual career plan take a look at the guide below.
Table of Contents
What Is A Career Plan
A career plan is a clear outline of things, situations, and positions that are related to your job that you hope to achieve.
Often when you hope to reach a higher level role you need to follow a certain path in order to be suitable for that role, this is referred to as a career path.
Your career path is what is outlined in the career plan, showing you what you need to achieve and steps to take in order to do so. The steps focus on professional development, education, and training that you need to complete to reach your final career goal.
Often people will make a plan to help stay motivated and focused while ensuring that they will continue to grow and develop within their current career path.
It can be a short-term plan to achieve a specific promotion or it can be a longer plan that ends with your dream role at a high level.
If you are reconsidering your career and want to look into what else is out there that you may be suited to then creating a career plan can be helpful.
Take a look below to find out the simple steps that you can take to create a career plan that will help you to reach all of your professional goals.
How To Create A Career Plan
Career plans are individual to each person and will vary in length depending on what stage the individual is at as well as what they hope to achieve. You can write your plan in a list, draw it in a mind map formation or type it out, create it in whatever medium works best for you.
For this section of your career plan, you should consider what you hope for and need from a job as well as what you offer. Look at your skills, interests, experience, and values.
By looking at these qualities you can get an idea of what you are suited to within a professional role.
For example, you could be highly intelligent but if you lack empathy then medicine could be a difficult career for you if you hope to work in a patient-facing role, or if you are great at communicating and have a lot of patience then being a teacher could be a perfect match for you.
While you may have a dream role you should be realistic as to whether you are suited to it and if it is truly what you need and want.
Jobs usually fall within certain sectors, three examples of job sectors would be healthcare, education, and finance. Each of these sectors is filled with varying roles that differ in what they achieve as well as the level of seniority they hold.
If you find that you are suited to education you will then look at this sector to consider what level you would like to teach at or if you would rather be a teacher’s assistant or a special needs assistant.
Look at the different careers available and choose what suits you best. Attending career and job fairs is a great way of meeting people working in roles you would like to learn more about.
Once you have chosen a job you can still take the opportunity to trial it to ensure it is what you are expecting.
Job shadowing, volunteering, and internships are fantastic ways of gaining experience as well as getting a realistic look at what the role is actually like.
Why not take the opportunity to try a number of suited careers to help you get a better feel for certain industries and sectors.
Your action plan will be based on three main steps.
- Determine the basic steps that you need to take to start your career path, these could be experiences or qualifications that are required. Factor in the length of time to complete degrees and short courses in your career plan as these steps cannot be rushed. For a role in business management, you may be required to hold a relevant university degree or to have the necessary experience.
- Look for entry-level jobs if you are just starting a new career. Create your curriculum vitae and begin to look at relevant job specifications and include buzzwords to make your curriculum vitae stand out.
- Apply, apply, apply! Getting your first role will take time but keep trying and eventually your efforts will pay off.
Once you get this far into your plan you are already on the path to success, to complete your plan simply add the below steps.
Look at what role is a natural progression for you and consider how you can achieve that. Short courses are a great way of bettering yourself professionally and help to boost your CV also.
Consider if you need to complete a higher qualification than you already have, for example, if you are following a career in education with the main goal to be a lecturer then you may need to complete both a master’s degree and a doctorate.
Necessary qualifications will depend on the career you are pursuing.
Look at company people profiles for a great way to see what qualifications and experiences people in your dream role have. This will give you a real idea of what you need to do.
If your career path takes any length of time longer than 5 years you should include reflection points within your plan so that you can assess where you are on your plan, how far you have left to go and adjust the plan as necessary.
You may find that you are unhappy in your role and this will allow you to deal with these feelings and determine what needs to be done.
As career plans can look wordy when you have completed them, go through your finalized plan and highlight key milestones that you hope to achieve.
Then create a timeline and input these goals onto it, this will help you to see your plan and a glance. Tick off each milestone as you progress so you can see how far you have come.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Career?
A career is a job that someone has for a significant period. They will progress within the sector this job is related to and follow a certain path that applies to the job that they have.
An example of a career would be medicine. Studying to work within medicine takes years and then it also takes quite a long time to progress through the different ranks until you eventually reach the level you hoped to work at within a certain role.
Another example would be hairstylists, this job also has a clear path that is followed in order to progress in your career.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A Career Plan?
Drafting your career plan can be a very straightforward process but often the length of time that it takes to complete your career plan varies, depending on the career path you are following.
Often it can take between 5 and 10 years to reach the final milestone you hope to reach within your career.
Your career plan may begin from the very start of your career or you may be drafting it a few years into your career to help stay motivated and to mark out the goals and milestones you hope to achieve.
Always remember that while it is fantastic to have a plan of what you want to accomplish, plans may change due to external factors. Be prepared to re-calibrate should you need to and focus on the successes rather than the length of time it takes to reach them.
Should you take the time to create your own career plan, we hope that you will be able to accomplish all you hope for.
Remember that your career plan is not set in stone and can be adapted to suit your pace and progress. It is a helpful way of helping you to monitor progress but should not be seen as rigid constraints that should be applied to your career.
Sometimes progression will happen quicker than expected and sometimes it can take longer, this can depend on the company you are working for and the company’s growth often rather than your individual professional growth.
If you feel you are suited to the next progression step in your career and opportunities are not arising within your company, begin to look elsewhere, there is nothing wrong with doing this.
Career plans can also be applied to your personal life. Take stock of what milestones you have achieved in your life and consider what more you hope to do.
It could be what age you hope to buy a house and outlining the steps you need to follow to achieve this or it could be the stages you hope to be in life when you hit certain milestone ages.
If you are a planner then creating a personal plan, similar to that of a career plan could be a nice activity to do.
It can also be a great way of showing yourself how far you have come, especially if you have suffered trauma or illness.