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almost 3 years ago by Debbie Lloyd

Your step-by-step guide to creating a perfect career plan

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Our friends at CVLibrary have very kindly written us an exclusive step by step guide to creating a successful career plan. 

Creating a career plan can be a great way to help you achieve your goals, particularly if you’re not sure where your career is heading or what move to make next. Putting an effective plan in place will stand you in good stead for the future and will actually help to make your goals feel more achievable. 

To help you create your plan, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that will talk you through weighing up your options and setting realistic goals that will help you move forward in your career.  

1. Think about your options 
The first step is to think about what you actually want to do and what your options are. Think about the particular industry you’d like to go into. Or, if you’re really unsure about this, spend some time making a list of your hobbies and the things you’re passionate about to see which industries best match your interests. 

For example, if you love being creative, you’re always reading and writing, or you spend a great deal of your time flicking through social media, perhaps a career in marketing is for you. Alternatively, if you love numbers and problem solving, the finance and accounting sector could be a good choice. 

Spend some time making a list of what you enjoy and this should help you to narrow down the fields in which you’d like to work.    

2. Research roles in your chosen industry 
Once you have a better idea of the industry you want to work in, it’s time to do your research! Do you have an end goal? Is there one particular role you’re aiming for?  If so, is there a natural path of progression for you or is there a number of entry routes into the industry? 

Spend some time researching roles within your chosen industry to see which you think you’d enjoy the most. A simple internet search can reveal a huge list of potential roles and job descriptions for each sector. And be sure to take a look at the entry requirements for each role. This will help you to the next step of the process. 

3. Consider your skills and experience 
Make a note of the skills and experience you already have and consider whether these relate to your chosen career path.  Are there any gaps in your knowledge? Will you need any additional training or should you gain more work experience before you begin applying for roles? If so, make a note of this so you can use these when setting yourself goals. 

4. Set yourself realistic career goals 
Let the real planning begin! Now it’s time to set yourself some goals based on your previous research and considerations. If you know you’re going to need more qualifications, one goal could be to go back to education or take an online course. You may also need more experience, so considering some volunteer work or an internship can be helpful. 

Remember, these need to be realistic. There is a helpful method you can follow as you set each goal – use the SMART method. Carefully review each goal and decide, is it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. 

5. Give yourself a time-frame 
For each goal you set yourself, it helps to also set a time-frame in which you hope to complete this. This will motivate you to keep working hard and make it more real. It’s easy to set yourself a task, but with no deadline, it can often get pushed to the wayside.  

6. Keep going back 
Don’t just set yourself goals, put a plan in place and then forget about it. It’s important to keep going back and checking on your progress. Are you moving forward? Have you achieved what you hoped? Or, is there still work to do? 
If you keep reviewing this, you’ll be able to push yourself to work harder, particularly if you haven’t completed a task in your set time-frame. You might also find that there are new goals you can add to your career plan, so it’s always good to re-visit this. 

In summary
In order to create a great career plan, you need to weigh up your options, research your ideal role and then work out how to get there. You can then set realistic goals that will help you each step of the journey. 

CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent job board and attracts graduates from all corners of the UK, from London to Manchester. It also owns a range of sector-specific job sites, including Jobs Retail.