How to Create A Career Plan That Really Works

If you are a recent college graduate, or if you are looking to make a career transition, the most effective way to proceed is by creating a career plan. Rather than formulating an idea in your head, write it out and keep a copy readily available to check your progress or to make adjustments along the way. The following tips can help you develop a logical plan for pursuing your career goals.

Target your dream job.

Decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. The ideal position may morph over time. For example, you could begin your career as a general practice nurse and eventually specialize to become a nurse anesthetist. Choose a career area, field, or industry where you would like to focus your professional efforts.

Inventory your credentials.

Take stock of your achievements so far. Include college degrees, certifications and licenses, extended learning, meritorious service as an employee or volunteer, and job skills mastered to date. You may be able to see patterns that will help you recognize your interests and strengths. There’s a good chance you would likely excel in a career that utilizes those qualities.

Acknowledge any weaknesses.

Conversely, note any lacks or weaknesses in your professional development to date. For example, if you would like to work as a foreign language interpreter but have not yet mastered any languages, you will have to address that need.

Set specific goals.

Instead of writing that you want to have a career position within six months, for example, indicate which career field interests you, and what type of position you would like to have. List steps you will take to reach your goal, such as applying for twenty jobs each week, posting a job-related blog on social media, or volunteering in your chosen career field to learn new skills and meet relevant professionals.

Establish a timeline.

Your timeline should be based on weekly and monthly career-oriented activities, not just long-term goals. For example, you could tweet or blog three days weekly about an area of expertise, or you could apply for ten jobs a week. You can also join a business group and attend monthly luncheons. You might plan to contribute an article to a trade publication every three months. Make good use of your skill set to set and meet career objectives.

Identify related needs.

Be realistic about monetary or time-related needs to address so that you can meet your goals. If you join a local business group, you might have to buy a professional outfit to wear. Blogging or applying to jobs weekly might require ten hours or more of your time. In addition, consider other reasonable needs that can help you meet your goals, such as seeking out a mentor or hiring a career coach for a few sessions.


The important thing is to keep working at your job goals. You may get frustrated or prospects may appear slim, but don’t give up. Success might be just around the corner when you send out that next batch of applications or schedule another interview