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Career Planning For The Future You Want

Updated: Apr 14



Having a rewarding career is dependent upon successful career planning. Without strategic and thoughtful career planning, Otherwise, you’re likely to spend your days trying to live up to the expectations of others or mindlessly drifting from one job to the next.

Of course, successful career planning itself means different things to different people. For some, it’s a matter of earning more money and climbing the corporate ladder. For others, it’s more about stretching their skills and contributing to society.

You can make your work life more satisfying and build accomplishments that you can be proud of, with successful career planning. Use this checklist to build your career success and put it into action.


Tips for Successful Career Planning


Identify your strengths. Think about your talents and how you can apply them. Do you like working with numbers or do you have a passion for design? Browse online for aptitude tests that will suggest careers that suit your personality.

Set specific goals. Create objectives that will motivate you and allow you to evaluate your progress. Give yourself realistic short- and long-term targets that are challenging, but feasible.

Address obstacles. You may find that you need some additional resources to complete your goals. Figure out what’s holding you back and how you’ll overcome it.

Consider your career brand. What makes you unique? Understanding your personal brand will help you to market yourself. You’ll know what you stand for and the audience that you’re trying to reach.


Think ahead. Career planning is an ongoing process that requires more than keeping your resume updated. Review your job status regularly to decide if it’s time to make a change.

Write it down. Put your career success plan down on paper. You’ll be more likely to keep your strategy in mind instead of letting it get buried under daily events.


Implementing Your Career Plan


Manage your time. Block out space in your calendar for activities essential to your goals. You may need to cut down on distractions like watching TV or shopping online.

Maximize your network. Build a strong network where you can share practical and moral support. Ask others for help when you need it. Be generous with sharing information and referrals.

Learn from others. Benefit from the experience of others. Find a mentor or shadow a star employee at your company.

Build your qualifications. Seek opportunities for education and training. Take certification courses online and check out the adult education catalog at your nearest community college.

Increase your visibility. Promote yourself by volunteering for committees at the local chapter of your professional association. Write articles for your company website or publish your own industry blog.

Negotiate compensation. Research current salary data when you’re exploring a new line of work or expecting a job offer. Talk with your employer about fringe benefits that are important to you, such as childcare or flexible hours.

Take risks. If you want to excel at work, you’ll need to move beyond your comfort zone. Focus on gradual growth you can sustain, and the small victories will add up. Deliver a presentation at a staff meeting to prepare for addressing the crowd at your annual convention.

Stay positive. Your professional career may last 50 years or more, so a cheerful attitude will help you to persevere. Look on the bright side of difficult situations and learn how to laugh at yourself.

Successful career planning enables you to do what you love and achieve balance in your personal and professional life. Start planning today so you can make decisions based on your values and goals.


For many job hunters, describing their soft skills can be the hardest part of applying for a new position. You’re prepared to send your transcripts and discuss your sales record, but how do you prove that you’re a team player or early adopter?

In case you don’t already know, hard skills are the job-specific education and experience you can quantify while soft skills are more intangible qualities like how you relate to others.


Consider these tips for how to develop and demonstrate soft skills that will be important to your career.


Examples of Soft Skills Employers Want

Different organizational cultures and job positions may require different soft skills. Still, there are some qualities that almost every employer will be seeking.


Consider these important soft skills:

  1. Communicate skillfully. Strong communications can require many different abilities. You might excel at making presentations but need to work on active listening.

  2. Solve problems. Rising to challenges and addressing business needs is central to any job description. Think about how you react when you encounter a setback.

  3. Express creativity. A physical therapist can be just as creative as a sculptor. Think about what makes you an artist.

  4. Radiate confidence. Feeling sure of yourself and your abilities encourages others to see you more favorably. Believing in yourself also makes it easier to be assertive and take risks.

  5. Think positive. Whatever position you’re applying for, your future boss and co-workers will be asking themselves if you’re someone they want to work with. An upbeat attitude suggests that you’ll be pleasant and helpful.

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