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Career Planning and Development: Career Goals and Planning Steps

The career planning process will give you the opportunity to identify your strengths, interests, and professional opportunities that you can later take advantage of and succeed as a professional.

Besides, career planning is necessary to better understand yourself, your desires and aspirations. And a well-formulated career plan will help you take control of your professional activities and keep your dreams alive.

What Is Career Planning

Career planning is the process of identifying and pursuing educational and professional opportunities that match your interests, passions and goals.

What Your Short- and Long-term Career Goals Should Be

Before you begin your job search, you need to set long-term, yet attainable goals that reflect a vision of what you want to be doing in 10,15, 20 years.

Then, in between stages of your career development, set short-term goals that will become sequential steps toward that long-term goal.

You can write down your career goals as a list with a description of each goal. In doing so, each of your short- and long-term goals should be “smart” and have these properties:

  • The career goal should be specific and precise so that it is clear from the description what it means to you.
  • The goal should have a quantification. For example: to take an electrician’s course, the training lasts 3 months and costs so much
  • The goal must be achievable. Be realistic about your chances and opportunities, and don’t set exorbitant goals. For example, if you want to become a betting expert, you shouldn’t make yourself place only winning bets on two months after learning your first strategy.
  • The goal must lead you to a specific result. For example, to improve your skills, get new experiences.
  • A career goal should have a timeframe: get a car license within six months, or find a new job with the possibility of career growth in 3 months.

If you are not lazy and in this format describe your career plan in detail, it will repeatedly increase your chances not to throw everything away and really achieve success.

Career Planning: 6 Steps to Success

Self-analysis and Self-assessment

To begin with, you need to determine your desires, needs, and goals, find your strengths and weaknesses, and identify your talents and interests.

This is necessary so that you can make a balanced and correct choice in favor of obtaining a particular specialty, and later be able to make informed career decisions.

Such self-analysis and self-assessment involves making a “list” of values:

  • Assessment of job expectations: desired salary, if you like working in a team, if you want your work to benefit society, etc.
  • Interest Assessment: likes and dislikes of certain activities, events, objects and people. For example: do you like art, sports, social activities, etc.
  • Personality Assessment. This involves determining your personality type (there are 16 in total). are you introvert or extrovert, make decisions based on logic or emotion, rely on information or intuition.
  • Assessment of abilities and strengths. It’s needed to help you understand if you need to get additional education or training, and to decide if you are willing to spend the time, money, and effort to build your career.

Be sure to put the results of your self-assessment and your professional and career goals in writing. It is necessary to do it in writing, because only when a person puts his thoughts on paper, he begins to realize them more clearly and distinctly. On paper, thoughts are structured, take shape and content. Again, there will be something to refer to and something to build upon in case of evaluating actual results, revising or refining goals.

Defining Career Expectations and Preferences

Once you have identified your strengths, abilities and interests, do a little research: think about what area you would like to develop, what kinds of activities you are interested in and why.

Start by making a list of the occupations and industries in which you want to work. You can also separately write out career expectations in relation to:

  • Job responsibilities.
  • Team.
  • Working atmosphere.
  • Working environment.
  • Opportunities for growth and development.
  • Desirable income.

Now that you have a rough idea of what and where you would like to work, research the job market and find information about the professions that are a priority for you.

For example, you may be interested in accounting, economics, marketing, and human resources. Check the job descriptions of these jobs on job search sites to understand what the requirements for the position are, what education you need, and what working conditions and salaries the company provides.


When the list of suitable professions is ready, you need to experience each of the professions in person. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Talking to an acquaintance who works in the field you’re interested in.
  • Find a mentor and try to apply his or her choice of career path to your own career planning.
  • Observe a colleague at work: how his work day goes and what his job responsibilities are.
  • Volunteering.
  • Internship. A great option to get valuable experience directly at the job you are interested in.
  • Part-time work. For example, you can work as an assistant to begin with.
  • Additional education and courses to help you learn the basics of your chosen specialty.

Making a Decision and Choosing a Career Path

Weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of the options you’ve chosen before. Then organize them in order of preference from highest to lowest. If your career preferences change as you progress, add alternative options to your list.

Completing Career Planning: Creating a Career Plan

Based on the information you receive, make a career plan. In this plan, you should include:

  • Background information such as: seniority and experience, education, additional training, volunteering, internships, licenses, certifications, interests, hobbies, strengths, etc.
  • personal time that you are willing to spend to prepare for your career advancement.
  • any short- and long-term career goals and how you will achieve them, such as: where you will get your education and the cost of that education, taking courses, getting a license, license, acquiring the right tools.
  • Write down the steps you have already taken to achieve your career goals.

Implementing a Career-building Strategy

After conducting a thorough analysis and creating a career plan, you need to decide what strategy to use to achieve your desired outcome. There may be several options:

  • Increasing responsibility in an existing position.
  • A horizontal move.
  • Promotion to the top to a position with increased responsibility.
  • retraining to master a new set of knowledge

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