What Is Career Planning?

Career planning is a process for:

  • Identifying what you are good at
  • Knowing how your skills, talents, values, and interests translate into possible jobs or careers
  • Matching your skills, etc. to existing jobs or careers
  • Matching your career goals to your financial needs
  • Matching your career goals to your educational needs
  • Making good decisions for yourself
  • Finding ways to meet your educational and financial needs on your schedule

It is important to understand how your individual cultural context influences your worldview. Each of us has an individual worldview composing our attitudes, values, opinions, and beliefs about how things work in the world. Your Cultural Context surrounds the entire career planning process, and includes your cultural heritage and life experiences.

The Career Planning Process Itself Has Three Main Components:

Self-exploration is the process of examining your:

  • Skills
  • Values
  • Experience
  • Interests
  • Education
Occupational Exploration includes activities such as:

  • Researching occupational and job profiles
  • Conducting informational interviews
  • Attending career and job fairs
  • Gathering labor-market information
Educational Planning and Career Planning consists of:

  • Decision making
  • Goal setting
  • Problem solving
  • Action planning

Why do career planning?

It is well established that most jobs that pay family-sustaining wages require some post-secondary education (that is, education beyond the high school level).  By taking the time to plan for your career now, you increase the chances of completing your education and getting the job you want.

What’s the difference between a job and a career?

A job is the occupation that you have at any given point in time.  A career refers to your working life over time, and could include a single job that you stay in for many years, or a series of successive jobs within the same field.  For example, you may decide to become a seventh-grade math teacher and stay in that job for 20 or 30 years or more, all the while gathering experience and additional training. In this case, you could say that your job was a math teacher, and that you also have a career as a math teacher. Or, you may decide simply that you want a career in health care.  You might choose to begin that career as a certified nursing aide and then, with additional education, become a surgical technologist and then a registered nurse.  It’s important to think about both your short-term and long-term goals.

Planning Your Career and Educational Goals

To guide you through the Career Planning unit and its activities, you can use the Career and Education Planning WorksheetAfter you complete an activity and the worksheet that goes with it, transfer the key information to this worksheet. As you visit the other pages in this unit, you will learn more about your skills, occupations that use those skills, and the education needed for those occupations.  After you complete an activity, and the worksheet that goes with it, you will then transfer key information to your Career and Education Planning Worksheet.

Part of career planning is deciding on which action to take based on the information you collect. By completing all the worksheets in the Career Planning unit, you will create a Career Plan with specific action steps to take.  Having this plan will better prepare you to know what information you will need to find in other sections of the website, such as Applying to College and Financial Planning.

What’s Next?

Head over to the Self-Exploration page!