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What is a career plan?

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

"When heading to a destination that is unknown to us, it is better to have a clear and precise itinerary in your possession, in order to facilitate our travels. A career plan is a bit like that!"

The usefulness of the career plan is first to allow you to visualize your goals and then to help you put in place the necessary means to achieve them. This is actually positive visualization! In addition, by going through the exercise of thinking about your professional future, you will be able to clearly name your career goals to those around you. This will allow your network to help you in your approach by thinking of you during professional opportunities that match your plan.

Here are the steps to follow in order to develop your career plan: It involves putting on paper, in tabular form, the goals you want to achieve, how to get there and the steps you plan to take to get there.

1) Determine your profile: Identify your values, your interests, your personal qualities, your skills, your achievements and your tools (which correspond to all your resources, such as your contact network for example).

2) Short, medium and long term: Identify your strategic objectives and plan for the short, medium and long term:

Ø Short term: 2-year period

Ø Medium term: 5-year period

Ø Long term: 10-year period

First, you need to think about the project as a whole (i.e. the long term). Then see it as a medium-term objective. Finally, you will establish short-term priorities, to ensure that you finally achieve the complete completion of the project. It is important to remember when developing your goals that the quality of a goal is to be: concrete, realistic and accessible. Subsequently, you will have to establish the means that will allow you to achieve these objectives (for example: the new skills and experiences needed, the development of your contact network, etc.).

3) Periodic reassessment of the situation and readjustment of the plan: You should remember to regularly review your career plan. A periodic assessment of your situation will allow you to monitor the progress of your project as a whole and the evolution of your career. You will then be able to objectively measure your performance over a period of time. Depending on your evaluation, you will be able to readjust your career plan to more adequately meet your ambitions.

For more information on career planning, you can consult the following books:

  • Bolles, Richard N., What Colour is My Parachute?, Berkeley, Ten Speed Press, updated annually.

  • Butler, Timothy and Waldroop, James (1997). Discovering Your Career in Business, Reading, Massachusetts, Addison-Wesley.

Finally, if you would like help in developing your career plan, do not hesitate to contact me.

Sylvie Taillefer, Guidance Counsellor at Career Coaching

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