Career Planning
By: Jeff Rowe


What comes to your mind when you think about career planning? Many people aren't sure what career planning means. For our purposes we will define career planning as "A goal that you desire to achieve in a selected field or occupation with a well thought out plan to get you there."

Why decide on a career goal?

A career goal helps you focus and make decisions on what you want to do for a living. A career goal can be a specific job-such as a clerk or teacher-or a career goal can be a particular field you want to work in, such as transportation or education.

A career goal may help you discover your talent, skills and abilities and possibilities that you wouldn't have thought of. Many possibilities exist with any career you choose. Having a career goal can guide you to doing what you want to do in your life-rather than just aimlessly going from job to job.

The future is unpredictable; however, you should still make career goals and plan the necessary steps to your goal.

With every goal there is an anticipated desired outcome. We call this an expectation. Our expectations help keep us motivated. When we realize our goal, we often feel joy and satisfaction.

Without expectation, life would be dull. Disappointments, if understood properly, can be our guide.

All of us have expectations and disappointments. In the process in thinking about our goals, we have to be prepared to have disappointments.

Career planning is simply goal planning with the intention of setting goals for jobs and career.

However, the only career planning you need is the one that is specific for your particular needs.

Career planning is gathering information, and based on that information, making a goal for you, and then planning the steps needed to obtain that goal.

Let's suppose you choose a field. Career planning is not planning for that field on a one-time only basis, but it's a continuing process; in fact, you can call it a lifetime process. Career planning is not just making plans to obtain your "perfect" job or career, but to help you make the many adjustments there will be along the way as you learn about you and your world or work.

Career planning is estimating, predicting and calculating all the steps necessary to achieving your goals. The career planning process can be divided into six steps:

  1. Self-Assessment
  2. Career Exploration
  3. Targeting
  4. Career Preparation
  5. Marketing Yourself
  6. Career Management
Career planning is a process that is always ongoing and often runs in cycles. When you desire change in your career, the process can be repeated many times.

In planning your career, do all you can to find the right people who will be your mentors that can help you along the way. Your career can far exceed your expectations if you learn what your boss and the organization expects of you and you meet or exceed those expectations. Career planning is no different than any goal setting and planning. The difference is that you are specifically separating your career and job goals from all other goals you may have.

The reason most people do not turn their wishes and dreams into reality is because they don't take these wishes and dreams and make them goals. A goal is a dream with a deadline.

There are many reasons why people don't make goals for themselves. The biggest reason is they don't understand that the process of goal setting is a skill. All of us have made some goals in our life and achieved them. But most of these were not large or life changing goals like going into business, changing careers, becoming wealthy, writing a novel, going from office clerk to a top executive or becoming an expert in your field. Successful people set goals; they plan and follow the plan. Goal setting is a process and a learned skill. Simple, short-term goals may be done in your head, but more complex, long-term goals, should be written, evaluated and monitored often. The longer it takes to achieve your goal, the more you will encounter problems, changes and frustration.

Goal setting is as much art as it is science. The more you understand the process and the more skills you acquire, the better are the chances in reaching your goal. By seeking your goal you will help build your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Goal seeking is growth building. Goal planning is life planning. As you define your goal, it will define you.

Life presents us with unexpected events all the time. So when we set out a goal we must understand that there may be many roadblocks to reaching a goal.

Barriers that come up often cause a person to abandon a goal. Before you do anything further, ask yourself "Why do I want to achieve this goal?" You may say, "I want to achieve this goal because I want to have more status" or "I want to increase my salary" or "I believe I can be a good leader and this can help me achieve my long term goal of becoming a top executive in my present company or another company." This exercise will help you to clarify your intentions and goals. In summary, many people are dissatisfied in their jobs and career. Career planning will help maximize your potential and satisfaction in your work. Having a career plan keeps you focused and motivated. Career planning will give you confidence that you are in charge of your career and life and you have the power to decide, act, and do what you want to accomplish your goals.