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Last updated on 4/28/21

Discover the concept of a career plan

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Before looking for an internship or job or embarking on another course of study, it is essential that you define your career plan. It will evolve throughout your career. For the moment, it’s simply about steering it in the right direction - the one that will help you succeed in your professional life! 😁

The skills assessment that you've already completed is the groundwork of your plan. Now we just have to give it some focus. Listen to your talents and aspirations, but also the requirements of the job market, and tackle what is achievable for you here and now! 😎

What is a career plan, anyway?

A career plan is a project that will be associated with a plan of action.

To succeed, you will need to define your goal, define the means and methods you will be able to use, and set yourself timeframes and indicators of success.

The action plan

Your action plan will have a few elements:

A goal:

Your action plan's goal must reflect who you are and what job you want to do (sometimes the sector of activity, the type of company, or the location.

Be open-minded and not too demanding or it will take too long to reach!

The means devoted to it:

You will need to identify and decide on your means and resources.

For example:

  • Set aside time for your job search; make time for it in your diary.

  • Earmark a budget: invest in a training course, buy interview clothes, subscribe to an industry-specific website, etc.

  • Your skills capital is also a resource; showcase it by practising talking about it and presenting your experiences.

  • Your network: update your list of contacts, get in touch with people, let them know what you’re looking for!

The methods you apply to it:

We’re here to talk about it! Follow the courses Develop your personal job search strategy and Land a job (coming in autumn 2018) in order to optimise your CV and your LinkedIn profile, find the right vacancies, improve your interview technique, etc.

Timeframes:

You’re going to set up a schedule. When do you want to be in the job? Again, be specific, but set a realistic time frame; otherwise, there’s no point! This schedule will include the different steps involved in the process.

You might have to consider factors such as the seasonal nature of some employment: e.g. September and January (beginning of the school year and calendar year respectively) often generate more job offers in many companies. Also, consider jobs influenced by the fiscal year and jobs that are project-based.

Monitor your results!

Use a tracking table to monitor your progress, especially for job applications. You will be able to measure response time, and see which and how many job offers lead to interviews (or not). This will help you focus your efforts on jobs that are better suited to your profile.

Be realistic

Thankfully your career plan is not set in stone! It should evolve over time, as your career develops and your situation (environment and opportunities) changes. You can set both short- and long-term goals in order to keep your plan flexible.

For example:

  • in the short term, I would like to find a job as a web developer and gain experience in an IT services company in London;

  • in the medium term, I would like to manage a team and join a large company for at least 5 years;

  • in the long term, I would like to start my own digital services business and return to work in my hometown.

You can see that your career plan:

  • will incorporate elements of your work life but also your private life; one will influence the other;

  • will become increasingly ‘uncertain’ the further into the future you plan ahead!

It is unique to you, and reflects your motivations and goals for the future. However, it should also be realistic (reflecting the reality and opportunities of the job market) and achievable (with regards to your abilities and skills). 

It's nice to dream about the future, make plans and picture possibilities, but remember, the goal is to ‘make your dreams come true’. You will have to test, experience, confront reality and sometimes adjust or even rethink your dream!

Tailor your dreams to reality!

What is the purpose of a career plan?

A career plan quite simply charts a course!

Your career is a long journey that will influence your private engagements, your physical and mental fitness, and the course of your whole life.

What do you normally do when you leave for a long trip? You book a flight or other means of transport, you save money up, learn a foreign language, make hotel or accommodation reservations, decide on your itinerary and stop-overs, etc.

It's the same in this case. You need to think about, analyse, (re)formulate and answer the following questions:

  • What motivates you? What makes you want to get up in the morning?

  • Where would you like to work? For what kind of organisation?

  • What type of activity would you like to do?

  • What skills or assets do you already have?

  • What steps do you have to take before achieving your goal?

  • What skills do you need to develop?

These are the kinds of questions that will help you build your career plan.

Defining a career plan with goals, means, methods, time frames and success indicators will:

  • give meaning to training and motivate you to succeed;

  • help you make choices more easily and quickly;

  • develop your self-confidence;

  • provide you with an overview or roadmap of the steps and actions to be taken to achieve your goals;

  • help you be more efficient in your job search by targeting the sectors of the market and opportunities that correspond best to your training and skills; and

  • help potential employers/recruitment agencies understand who you are and what drives you, so you can find a job that suits your interests and abilities. 

Summary

  • A career plan is a plan of action with goals, means, methods, time frames and performance indicators.

  • It's nice to dream about the future, but it's even better when your dreams come true! You will have to know how to adjust your plan, and turn fantasy into reality.

  • Your career plan will chart a course mixing private and professional life. Take time to prepare the trip; otherwise, you might get lost along the way!

Using this lesson, you can begin preparing your career plan with us right now!

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement