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  1. Career Advice
  2. Career Path
  3. Check out our 5-step guide to making an effective career plan
Check out our 5-step guide to making an effective career plan

Check out our 5-step guide to making an effective career plan

Artwork by: Stas Podgornov

  • What is a career plan?
  • What are the different steps in career planning?
  • Key takeaways

Think of career planning as futureproofing your life. The task involves deciding where you want to stand on a professional level years from now. Read on to learn more about how to create an effective career plan.

Not sure where your job is taking you? Feel like you’re not on the right path? Career planning is not just for fresh graduates and those who have recently started their careers. Even the most accomplished professionals can benefit from evaluating their existing job roles and determining where they want to be. But what exactly is a career plan all about?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • The significance of a career plan

  • How to create a career plan

  • An example of a career plan

What is a career plan?

Career planning is all about determining where you currently stand in your life, what you want to accomplish, and how to accomplish it. If you’ve created a career plan, you need to revisit it often and check if your targets can still be achieved. 

A career plan varies from one person to another. After all, every individual is unique and wants different things in life. For this reason, a good starting step to creating a career plan is to assess your skills and ambitions, and then decide what type of job will closely align with them. 

What are the different steps in career planning?

Even though each career plan is different, there are a couple of steps you can take to get started. Here are the five important steps you need to take:

Step 1: Figure out your interests and skills

After you’ve taken out a piece of paper or opened a file on your computer to start preparing a career plan, think about what really entices you. What are you passionate about? If there’s one job you would happily do for free, what would it be? 

Similarly, try to figure out your key skills. What are some of the things you’re good at? Are there any skills you’re passionate about learning? Answering these types of questions is the first step towards deciding what you want to do and which type of career would be best suited for you.

Expert Tip

If you’re unsure about your passion and interests, perhaps taking the Myers Briggs career test might be helpful. This test could help you identify your personality type (introvert, extrovert, sensitive, intuitive, etc.) so that you know which type of career path might work in your favor.

Step 2: Determine your specialization

Now that you’ve evaluated your skills and interests, ask yourself, “What do I want to specialize in?” Every job has certain specializations involved. For instance, if you’ve decided that you’re passionate about helping others heal, do you want to be a physician, psychologist, physiotherapist, registered nurse, occupational therapist, or speech-language pathologist? 

This exercise is important in setting the course for your professional career. If you’ve chosen a highly specialized field, you can then start looking into the different career opportunities within that field and the education/skills required for those jobs.

Step 3: Think of your ideal working environment

Simply close your eyes for a minute and imagine your ideal day at work. What are some of the tasks you’re working on? Are you working from the comfort of your home, in an office, or at a fancy resort in some exotic location? Would you rather work 9-to-5 or prefer flexible working hours? Do you see yourself in an environment with a dress code or someplace a bit more casual?

Answering these types of questions will help you determine what type of company/industry you want to work in. It’ll also help you decide the ideal work-life balance you will need to deliver the best possible results. 

Step 4: Identify the right employer 

By this point, you’ve already narrowed down a couple of career options. Let’s start looking into the different employers who are currently offering those careers. What is their mission? Do their values align with yours? What type of culture do they have? Does the employer offer the work-life balance you’re looking for?

If you’re creating a career plan, you might want to look for employers with a good work culture. These are the places you’re likely to learn the necessary skills to succeed in your job role. Work culture is so important that more than 33% of employees in the United States left their jobs due to toxic work culture in 2022.

Step 5: Invest in professional development

Your career planning does not stop at getting a job. After you’ve secured your employment, the next step is to figure out how to succeed in your job role and advance in your career. For this reason, it’s important to consider investing in professional development.

Professional development consists of on-job learning and technical training. Once you join a company, be on the lookout for any training opportunities that will help you move up the corporate ladder. This could either be webinars and seminars arranged by the company or even courses on LinkedIn, Coursera, Hubspot, and other online learning academies. 

Example: Content writer career plan

Career goal: To become the top-ranking content writer in ABC Ltd.

Strategy 1: Take on more writing projects for the fintech sector

  • Create content for five different fintech companies for Q1 2024.

  • Inform the account executives to assign new fintech clients.

  • Use Google to look for fintech businesses in the area in need of writing services.

Strategy 2: Try to upsell SEO services to generate more repeat clients.

  • Send an email to all new fintech clients about the company’s SEO services.

  • Collaborate with the website development team for site audits.

Strategy 3: Improve project completion timeline and reduce the need for revisions. 

  • Complete at least five projects by March 2024.

  • Leverage Grammarly and ChatGPT for proofreading.

If you need help creating a comprehensive career plan, let us know!

Key takeaways

  1. Career planning is all about deciding where you want to be in life professionally. It involves some self-reflection, target-setting, and exploring opportunities that align with your values.

  2. One of the first steps toward creating an effective career plan is to ask yourself, “Where do I see myself in [X] years from now?”

  3. Creating a career plan is not enough. You have to revisit this plan at every stage in your career to check whether you’re still on track or if something needs to be changed in the plan.

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