So what exactly is career planning and why should you do it? Career planning is about making clear, informed and realistic plans for your future – and then taking the steps to put your plan into practice.
If we haven’t done it ourselves, we certainly know of others who have drifted into and between jobs, never really finding something that excited us or makes us feel like we are using our potential. Maybe you’ve gone to university and started the same course as your friend because you don’t know what else to do – and hated it. Perhaps you’ve put in years of hard work to gain a qualification and now can’t find work in your field. Maybe you are stuck on a low income and feeling trapped.
We spend a large part of our life at work, and almost all of us need the income it brings in order to live and to live the way we would like, so it makes sense to plan for how that is going to happen – whether we are still at secondary school, in early or mid career stages, or looking at transitioning from fulltime work into retirement.
Career planning puts us in charge. Instead of reacting to events that happen we can have some degree of control and certainty about where we are going, and we can proactively build our skills and our career resilience to the events we encounter during our working life.
We can work through a career planning process that helps us know ourselves better, indentify our skills and interests, and clarify what we need and want in our work. We can research training and study options. We can explore the labour environment to understand the opportunities out there (or not) in the field we are looking at, and we can create a plan to achieve our goals.
Planning is motivating, and gives us confidence in our career path. It enables us to reduce the amount of time and money we spend gaining qualifications, and ensures we are out there working, earning and doing work we love as soon as we can be.