Step 1: Understanding yourself
Self-assessment is always the starting point for career planning. This involves finding answers to the following questions:
- What am I good at? (Yours skills)
- What interests me? (Your interests)
- What motivates me? (Your values)
- What do I have to offer an employer? (Your qualifications/experience)
Step 2: Researching your options
Now that you have a good understanding of your interests, skills and values, you are in a position to explore various career options and relate them to your profile.
Firstly, you need to decide if you want to find a job, continue with your studies, or take time out before starting your career.
- Find a job
If your decision is to find employment, you need to generate a list of jobs that appeal to you and research these careers carefully.
Step 3: Making decisions
Now that you know more about yourself and the options open to you, you need to ask yourself the following questions in order to help you make your choice:
- Which career option is most attractive to me?
- What does the work involve?
- What qualifications are required?
- Do I have the appropriate set of skills?
- Are there job opportunities in this area?
- What are the promotional prospects?
- If jobs are limited in this area, what are the related areas?
Based on your answers to these questions, and knowledge of your profile, you should now be able to draw up a short-list of your career options.
The next thing you need to consider is how you make decisions. If you have successfully made similar decisions in the past, the method you used then may apply to your present decision-making, too. Some useful resources on decision making can be found at Mind Tools.
Step 4: Implementing your decisions
If you have decided on your preferred career options, you need to start planning and implementing a course of action to convert your choice into reality. Make a list of all the things you need to do, and allocate each a timeframe. Your list should include tasks such as compiling a CV, completing application forms, preparing cover letters, preparing for interviews and keeping records of applications.
Remember career plans are not rigid. They need to be monitored and reviewed regularly as circumstances change. Ask yourself:
- Have I made progress with my applications?
- Have events changed?
- How do I feel about my current prospects?
- Are there any other steps that I can take to achieve my objective?
Finally remember you are never alone. You can always contact the Careers Service for advice at any stage of your career planning process.
Source: University of Limerick