Career planning is about building a bridge from studies to working life. At its best, career planning is a lifelong process and attitude that will help you find a place that you like in the working life. It is useful to reflect on your own skills, interests and goals from the beginning of your studies.
The eight steps of planning your career
1. What have I done?
- Education and work-history
- Hobbies and positions of trust
- Life events that have affected your development
2. What do I know, what can I do?
- What I am good at?
- What have I learned?
- What qualities or skills did a specific job, education or life-event give me?
- What have different events during my life, meant to me?
- Professional/field-specific knowledge
- General work-skills: e.g. computer skills, language skills, co-operative skills
- Personal skills: e.g. independence, flexibility, innovativeness
- Special skills: e.g. a language that not many other know in the group of people that you are competing with, but that can be useful (e.g. Chinese)
- Other skills: e.g. organization skills
3. What am I interested in?
- What kind of dreams and expectations do I have?
- What kind of things do I want to work with?
- What kind of work tasks interest me?
- What kind of skills do I want to use in my work?
- What kind of social interactions do I hope the work contains?
- What kind of work environment is important to me?
- In what kind of organization do I want to work?
- What information do I need to find what really interest me?
4. What is important for me?
Values are the answers to the question “What is important for me?”. Think about what kind of things (in work and life in general) are important to you, and what you value. How do these things show up in what and how you do? Write them down.
5. What kind of options and possibilities do I have?
Be creative with your thinking on what opportunities you have to fulfil yourself, your interests, dreams and know-how. You can use these questions to help you plan:
- With what kind of things do I want to work with in the future?
- What kind of work would I want to do?
- Where are these jobs I am looking for?
- What kind of information do I need to get new ideas?
- Where can I achieve my interests, dreams and goals?
- What kind of education-opportunities (e.g. in- service education) are there?
- What are my long-term goals?
- What alternative paths do I have?
6. What path should I take?
Assess your alternatives good and bad sides. Think of every possibility separately. While pondering, you can use the following questions
- Why am I interested in the option?
- What does the option mean practically?
- What things (e.g. education) could prove useful to the option?
- What resources does the option require? (Time, money etc.)
- What problems could come from the option?
- What else do I need to know to be able to assess the option?
Write down the option that you land on, and the option that is your set goal for the moment. Evaluate your goal. You can also have multiple goals.
7. What is my plan? How do I act?
Make a concrete plan of action that you can follow for at least the coming year
- What are my goals?
- What does this mean practically?
- What timetable should I work with?
- What kind of possible obstacles are there? How do I tackle them?
- From what, how and when do I start?
- What should I concretely do to achieve the goal?
8. How do I follow up on my plan?
You have now pondered about yourself from many different viewpoints: What you know and can do, what you are interested in, what your values are etc. You have now made a plan of action, and now it is time to put that plan into action. What is your first step?
Occasionally, it can be a good idea to stop and check how you are moving towards your goal/goals, and assess the situation. Is there a reason why you should change your goal? How has your plan worked out? You can ponder your starting position, what you are interested in etc. You can use the same questions that you already have used to make your initial plan.