The Post College Professional

Why You Need to Start Career Planning

Posted by Michelle McGuire on Mar 20, 2020

Tags: Your next career move

Career planning can be a daunting task to start. Articulating exactly what you want out of your career path requires a lot of reflection and soul-searching. But, in the long run, giving career planning the time and attention it deserves is essential. A successful career doesn’t happen by chance. In order to succeed, you have to know what you want to do and where you want to go. And that’s exactly what career planning does for you. 



What are the benefits of career planning?

When it comes to your career, a little structured planning will go a long way. Here are some of reasons why career planning should be a priority:

  • Career planning gives you a roadmap to your future: Career planning outlines how you’re going to get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (your ultimate career goal). With an end goal in mind, you’ll be able to identify what actions you need to take to get there. These actions might include things like assessing job descriptions to see what you need to do to qualify, attending networking events to make new connections, and exploring different companies and industries to see if they’re the right fit. 
  • Career planning identifies gaps you need to fill: Speaking of actions you need to take, career planning helps you identify where you might have a little more learning to do. This might mean taking additional courses, becoming certified in a new skill, or even going to graduate school. Graduate school is a great way to accelerate your career path and meet your career goals sooner. It gives you the opportunity to fill a variety of skill gaps at once, make professional connections that’ll support you for the rest of your career, and pivot in an entirely different direction. 
  • Career planning gives you space for ongoing personal reflection: How often do you actually sit down and think about your professional development other than during your annual review? Career planning provides an opportunity to reflect on what you have to offer potential careers and what exactly you want out of a career path. A good career plan takes into account your strengths, weaknesses, values, and what you like and need out of a career. 
  • Career planning provides much-needed motivation and reality checks: As much as you may want it to, your career path will likely not follow a straight line. Having a career plan will help you stay motivated during all the twists and turns your career path throws at you. It will also provide you reality checks when you consider career or industry changes.

Before you start planning, it’s important for you to remember a few things. Your career plan does not have to be set in stone. While it’s important to set goals, make it a regular habit to reassess every few months to make sure they’re still matching what you want out of a career. And remember that following your career plan won’t be a perfect process. Try not to be discouraged by the possible obstacles along the way. No matter what may change, your career plan is there to ground you and guide you on your path to success!

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