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Follow These 4 Steps to Plan Your Career

Career planning helps you make decisions throughout your career, whether you are just starting or planning retirement. Follow these 4 steps to plan your career.

Figuring out what career path to follow starts with knowing yourself and knowing your options.

Step 1: Get to know yourself

Identify your vision, values, interests, skills, traits and abilities. It will help you decide what you want from your next career move.

Then, think about your answers to these questions:

  • Choosing a new career direction: Which of your core values are most important to your choice?
  • Looking for new challenges at work: Which of your skills or interests could help you develop and advance?
  • Considering going back to school: Which type of program would make the most of your strengths?

Step 2: Explore your occupational options

Explore your options and gather information about them. What choices do you have? What does each one involve? Are there other options you haven’t thought about?

  • Choosing a career direction: Find out about the occupations that interest you. Try talking with people in those fields. Can you get direct experience by volunteering? What about working part-time or job-shadowing? Don’t forget to consider related occupations.
  • Considering going back to school: Talk to people in the occupations that interest you. Ask how they gained the skills and knowledge they needed. Get their advice on the training options that employers prefer.

Step 3: Get ready by evaluating your career options

Evaluate your career options. Decide which ones are best for you at this stage of your life. Look at the pros and cons of each option. Consider the challenges you may face and how you can handle them.

Step 4: Take action to achieve your career goals

Develop a plan to make your options a reality. Identify the short-term and long-term steps that you need to take. Create deadlines for the completion of each step. Identify things you can do to stay motivated. Then take the steps you've identified.

Use career planning to take charge of the changes in your life and work

Career planning is a practical way to manage the ongoing changes in your life and work. It helps you build on what you already have and think realistically about your priorities. Try the 4 career planning steps in CAREERinsite for a successful and satisfying career.

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