The 6-Step Career-Planning Process

6 Steps for Career Planning
  • Step 1: Explore Career Options. …
  • Step 2: Conduct Field Research. …
  • Step 3: Determine Your Job Target. …
  • Step 4: Build Your Credentials and Resume. …
  • Step 5: Prepare for Your Job Search. …
  • Step 6: Launch Your Job Search.

Career planning is an important process for both individuals and organizations. It involves taking the time to assess one’s current situation, setting goals, and implementing strategies to move toward those goals. For individuals, career planning provides the opportunity to reflect on one’s past, present, and future to identify meaningful work that is aligned with their values, strengths, and skills. For organizations, career planning is a critical process that helps to ensure that employees are matched with roles that best utilize their talents and abilities, as well as help to retain valuable employees. In this blog post, we will explore the career planning process and discuss how it can be used to help organizations and individuals reach their goals.

5 Minutes on Careers Series: Career Planning

What is career planning?

Finding educational, training, and employment opportunities that fit your interests, passions, and goals is the process of career planning. You should establish attainable long-term goals before looking for work that specify what you want to be doing along your career path in five, ten, fifteen, twenty, and so forth. In order to ensure that you have specific, doable steps you can take to achieve your long-term goals, you can set short-term goals in between each stage. You can outline your goals with career planning and evaluate them as you go along.

Steps of the career-planning process

Depending on your path, you might just go through each step once or you might go through it again to find new career options. Here are the chronological stages of the career-planning process:

1. Self-exploration and assessment

To make wise academic and career decisions, you must first understand your needs, strengths, personality, skills, talents, and interests. These things can be ascertained on your own by making a series of lists or by taking a variety of tests, such as:

You can also consider meeting with a career counselor. A career counselor is an expert at assisting professionals in understanding the factors that can affect their career decisions and identifying options they may not have thought of. To help you better understand yourself, a career counselor may employ techniques such as skill identification exercises, interest inventories, communication and learning styles, and others.

2. Career research

You can decide which types of careers you are interested in after determining your qualities and aptitudes through research. Start with the roles and industries listed by your assessments, or create a list of the qualities you want in a job, including the duties and opportunities for career advancement. Determine additional roles and industries you might want to consider using those traits.

Begin additional research by gathering background data on each of the professions on your list. Examine the broad characteristics of each profession as well as statistics about the labor market as a whole, including the median wage, common benefits, educational and training requirements, and the likelihood of employment after satisfying all the requirements.

As you continue to whittle down your list of potential careers, learn what it’s really like to work in each one. Reach out to current professionals on career-focused social media platforms or use your professional network to find people who are already in those roles and industries. To learn as much as you can about the benefits and drawbacks of the industry, you can also read company reviews for specific roles. When it comes time to make a decision, reading first-person perspectives could be incredibly helpful.

3. Career exploration and experimentation

Find ways to experience each potential career in person after you have reduced your list of options. Here are some methods for getting a first-hand understanding of what a role entails:

4. Decision-making and career selection

Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of all of your options. Numerous factors will need to be taken into account, such as the potential balance between pay and enjoyment, the advantages and disadvantages of moving, and the work-life balance.

Carefully review all of your prior research and any relevant experiences, and arrange them in order of preference, highest to lowest. Using this technique, you can prioritize your choices by ranking particular elements and roles higher than others. Additionally, think about coming up with some similar but different options in case your preferences change as you go along or your job search does not result in that position.

5. Final planning and action

Make a plan of action using all the knowledge you have gained. Background details like your employment history, education, training level, volunteer work, and other unpaid experience should be included in this plan. Your professional licenses or certifications, the findings of the self-evaluations mentioned in the first section, and any career counselor recommendations you have received should also be included.

Make thorough lists of the short- and long-term objectives you must accomplish before achieving your ultimate career goal. These lists should contain all of the professional, academic, and training objectives necessary to follow your chosen career path. You should also think about the obstacles in your way, and how you intend to get past them. These obstacles could be monetary, educational, professional, or even personal, like the price of attending college, obligations to your family, or the need for tools and supplies for your desired career.

Consider outlining your intended career path step by step, including the ones you’ve already taken to gauge your progress. You can also do this for your backup plans to make sure you’re ready to take them if your first choice doesn’t work out.

6. Job search and acceptance

Use your career plan to begin your job search. Compare the preferences and requirements of the roles and organizations you are interested in applying to with your career plan. Check to see if there are any additional requirements or if you are eligible to apply.

Additionally, you can use your strategy for setting goals and career plan to create a powerful cover letter that exemplifies your enthusiasm for the position, industry, and employer. Your career plan can help you track the steps you’ve taken so far and demonstrate your commitment to reaching your goals. You can use these materials to demonstrate your qualifications and interest to potential employers during the interview process.

Check the salary, benefits, location, work-life balance, and responsibilities of any job offers to see if they align with your self-evaluation and action plan.


What are the five steps of career planning?

Figuring out what career path to follow starts with knowing yourself and knowing your options.
  1. Step 1: Get to know yourself. …
  2. Step 2: Explore your occupational options. …
  3. Step 3: Make your decision by evaluating your career options.
  4. Step 4: Take action to achieve your career goals.

What are the 8 steps to making a career plan?

Initiation, exploration, decision-making, preparation, and implementation are the five processes that the model in this paper identifies as essential to successful career planning (Magnusson, 1991, 1992). The processes are sequential, despite the fact that some clients may start at the initiation stage and move forward in stages all the way to implementation.

What are the three main parts of the career planning process?

8 Steps to an Effective Career Plan
  1. Identify Your Career Options. Using self-evaluation to examine your interests, abilities, and values will help you create a more focused list of possible career paths.
  2. Prioritize. It’s not enough to list options. …
  3. Make Comparisons. …
  4. Consider Other Factors. …
  5. Make a Choice. …
  6. Set “SMART” Goals.

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