5 Steps To Plan Your Career

  • Decide what career you want to pursue
  • Set goals for yourself using the SMART technique
  • Do a gap analysis by filling in the gaps between where you are and where you want to be
  • Once you have determined which skills and qualifications you need, you should take action
  • Remember to always return to your career plan to improve or adjust it

Planning your career is an active process that needs to be divided into steps. Here are 5 steps to plan your career:

  1. Where do you want to go?
  2. SMART goals
  3. Gap analysis
  4. Take action
  5. Evaluate your progress
plan your career

1. Where Do You Want To Go?

The first step in creating a career plan is to know what you want to end up doing. Here you should list your biggest career dreams without being held back by insecurities. 

While dreaming about your desired job title, you need to keep your strengths and weaknesses in mind. Ask yourself what you are good at and what position will suit you best. 

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right career:

  • Self assessment: Think about what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. While considering your own potential you also need to think about the job market. For example, if there is job security in the careers you choose
  • Skill stacking: During the process of skill stacking you will have to list all of your skills. This will guide you towards a specific line of work
  • Do research: It is important that you find as much information about the career field as possible. You can do this by talking to professionals, reading or doing job shadowing

2. SMART Goals

Setting goals for yourself will motivate you to take action and it will give you a sense of accomplishment when you achieve them. 

The SMART technique is a helpful way to set goals. This is how it works:

  • S – Specific: Make sure that you determine specific, and not generalised, goals. For example, instead of setting the goal, “Obtain a qualification”, rather say, “Obtain an Office Administration Qualification
  • M – Measurable: This means that the goal can be tracked over time and divided into its own steps
  • A – Achievable: Your goal should be achievable within the time period you set for yourself
  • R – Realistic: It is important that your goal is within your reach. Make sure that you have the abilities to achieve the goal
  • T – Timely: It will benefit you greatly if you set aside a specific amount of time for each goal. This way you will have deadlines that motivates you to work

3. Gap Analysis

A gap analysis is an in-depth evaluation of where you are now and where you want to be. A gap analysis includes two main steps:

1. Do Research On The Career

During this step you need to find as much information as you can. Explore your chosen career by participating in job shadowing, networking and reading articles and books about the career. 

One of the most important things to learn about your dream career is which skills and qualifications are necessary to gain. 

2. Evaluate Your Current Skill

After doing research and finding out what is needed for your dream position, you need to make a list of your current skills and qualifications in order to determine what you need to do next. 

If you find a “gap” between what you have now and what you need to reach your goals, you need to determine what you can do to fill that gap.

4. Take Action

Now that you know what your dream career is all about and you have determined which skills and qualifications are needed to reach your goals, you should take action.

If you need a Matric Certificate, or higher education qualification, or work experience, you will need to find out where these goals can be met.

Matric College offers a second chance at a Matric Certificate. This way you do not have to return to high school to get your Matric. They also offer accredited ICB courses that do not require a Matric Certificate.

5. Evaluate Your Progress

It is important that you do not leave your career plan behind once you achieve the first few steps. Even when you reach your end goal, you should go back to your career plan and see if you can improve it.

Keep in mind that your career goals might change over time, as you get to know your career field first hand. Start preparing now.

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