Career Planning

Career Planning Begins With Knowing Yourself

With all of the career possibilities available: 

  • How do you make a decision? 
  • Once you know what career path you want to follow, how do you get there? 

Look within yourself to discover your interests, skills, personality traits, and values. Also ask friends, family members, teachers, or mentors if they see the same qualities in you as you see in yourself. Simply ask:

  • What do I like to do?
  • What activities do I find fun, motivating, interesting and enjoyable?
  • What skills and abilities do I have or want to develop?
  • What personal style or characteristics do I have that are important to me in the work place?
  • What purpose or goal do I want to accomplish in my career?

Investigate all the career choices, options, and opportunities available to you. Attend career fairs, visit a career center in your school or community, talk to people in various careers, shadow or spend time with people in careers that interest you. Ask:

  • How did you get started in this career?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • What type of training or education is required?
  • What are the starting and average salaries?

Next, set some goals. Research careers that interest you to determine how to prepare for them and how much training and education are required to be successful. After gathering the information, set goals to attain the required training.

Once you've decided on a career path and made strides in obtaining the required training and education, you will be prepared to begin searching for a job that suits you. Job searching skills include:

  • How to write a resume and cover letter
  • How to network to find job openings
  • How to fill out an application
  • How to interview successfully for a job

Career planning is an ongoing process. Regardless of your age, it is important to assess where you are if you are to meet your goals and turn your dreams into reality. For example, an unemployed and unskilled worker in transition, with little experience in the workforce, has different needs from a young adult student looking to launch a first-time professional or technical career. An older adult with educational credentials and years of experience, but who has been recently affected by an employer's reorganization, faces a different set of issues. Everyone can benefit from the process of self-assessment, exploring career opportunities, and learning effective, assertive job search strategies that produce results.

This is where your career path begins - learning about yourself, exploring careers, and beginning your job search. Remember, career planning can be a life-long process. Few people stay in one job or on one career path throughout their lives, and you may find yourself completing the process more than once along the way.