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How to Write a Career Plan

Creating a career plan can seem daunting. Often, what's missing is bit-sized guidance on how to write that plan and what it should include. Here's your step-by-step guide to crafting a career plan that sets you up for success:

Think about you

Ask yourself what’s important to you. Be honest. ‘What skills do I have and what skills do I really need in the career I am aiming for?’ You really need to do this before setting any goals.

Dream big

Too many of us don’t have an image in our minds of where we could go with our careers. A law student, for example, probably dreams of working at a big city firm. But graduates end up in a wide variety of jobs, especially in commercial roles or even regulatory bodies such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Don’t limit your brainstorm. Enlist friends, mentors, career coaches as sounding boards. Make sure your big goals are the aspirational ones.

Dream small

You’re not going to get from where you are to your dream career overnight. As well as a long-term goal, it’s really important to have one, two, five and ten year goals as stepping stones in your plan and consider both your career and personal goals. Your small goals will be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based.

Start writing it down

There is a point where you have to put your goals to paper. This will hold you accountable to yourself and don’t worry if you haven’t got everything sorted yet. First drafts can be edited.

Create action points

Commit. Action points encourage you to take steps to execute your plan and get to the next level, or the next step. Those steps may involve adding skills or they could be networking or whatever is relevant to your career journey.

Be prepared to be flexible

Your career plan needs to be a living document because people change, and the world is evolving even faster. Learn new skills, be open to opportunities you thought you may never have never considered in the past, be vulnerable and be brave. Each step you take toward your goals, remember, the destination is the byproduct of your journey to get there.

Review! Review! Review!

You aren’t necessarily going to find the perfect career path when you first create a plan. Review it yearly. Your personal priorities will change over time and stay tuned to economic indicators.

Keep your finger on the pulse

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