Career Planning Overview

Not so long ago, most people stayed in the same line of work for a lifetime. In those days, "career" was another word for "job." Today, it's helpful to think of your career as the sum total of all your work, learning and life roles. Today, planning your career is ongoing. It is a work-in-progress. And, it's an important life skill.

Career planning is the lifelong process of


Planning based on what's important to you

What's important to you will change throughout your lifetime. Think about what has been important to you in the past and what might be important in the future. Ask yourself how your work and life might change if you have children. What will happen when your children leave home? Career planning will help you ensure your plans reflect your priorities at every stage of your life.

These days, you probably won't find one type of work that will stay the same for your whole career. And your priorities will change too. Rapid shifts in technology, society and the economy will continue to erase some types of work. It will also create new types. Career planning prepares you to manage change in positive and rewarding ways.



Building on what you have

Career planning is an ongoing process. It involves both life and work. It helps you build on what you already have, such as


Career Planning

Using the career planning cycle

The steps in the career planning cycle are useful for all kinds of decisions. You can use them at all stages of your career, including when you are


Career Planning Step 1: Know Yourself

Identifying your vision, values, interests, skills, traits and abilities will help you decide what you want from your next career move:


Career Planning Step 2: Explore Options

Explore your options, discover new ones and gather information about them. What choices do you have? What does each option involve?


Career Planning Step 3:  Get Ready

Evaluate your options and decide which ones are the best for you at this stage of your life. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Consider the challenges you may face and how you can handle them.


Career Planning Step 4:  Take Action

Develop a plan to make your option a reality. Identify the short-term and long-term steps you need to take and tie them to specific dates. Identify things you can do to stay motivated. Then, take the steps!

The career planning process is a practical way to manage ongoing changes in your life and work. Building on what you already have and thinking realistically about your priorities, you can continue to use the 4 career planning steps to create a satisfying career path.