Career Planning

Career planning is the ongoing process where you: Explore your interests and abilities; strategically plan your career goals; and. Create your future work success by designing learning and action plans to help you achieve your goals.

The Career Planning Process encompasses the stages involved in discovering a career path, including self-assessment, research, experimentation, decision making, job searching, and accepting a job offer.

The Steps in the Career Planning Process

Step 1: Self-Assessment. Careful evaluation of your individual strengths, lifestyle preferences, passions, work style, and financial needs is a vital and often overlooked step in planning your various potential career paths.

Step 2: Research. Once you have articulated a sense of the satisfaction(s) you would like to derive from your work and the skills you have to offer employers, you can begin your research. This stage involves brainstorming possible job options and investigating them thoroughly. During your career research, you will learn about the descriptions and qualifications for various positions, typical entry points and advancement opportunities, satisfactions, frustrations, and other important facts in order to determine if a particular career would be a good fit for you.

Step 3: Experimentation. Internships and part-time jobs are an excellent way to sample a field of interest. They provide the opportunity to perform some of the job functions, observe others work, and evaluate the “real world” workplace environment.

Step 4: Decision-Making. This stage involves an evaluation of the pros and cons of the career options you have been researching. It also involves prioritizing and, for some people, risk-taking. During this stage in the career planning process, you’ll have to make decisions regarding issues like relocation (are you willing to move in order to land your dream job?) and cost analysis (can you afford to do a poorly-compensated job you love, or will it be necessary to find personally unfulfilling work that provides a great salary and healthcare benefits?).

Step 5: Job Search. Once you have identified a work objective, you can begin your job search. Most people engaged in an active job search will be involved with activities such as professional networking, identifying prospective employers, writing cover letters and resumes, and interviewing.

Step 6: Acceptance. Finally, after this lengthy process of self-evaluation, research, application, and interviewing, you will be offered a job and accept employment. Ideally, this will mark the beginning, or at least a milestone, in your exciting and varied career.

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