How to Use a Career Plan

People you know use career plans to get ahead. Think about famous people. What about business owners or community leaders in your area? They did not get a good job by accident.

How did these people gain career or financial success? They likely thought about what they wanted their lives or work to be like in the future. Then they wrote down those goals and the actions needed to make them happen. Those goals and actions are called a career plan.

Career Plan Steps

Here are ways to help you set goals and stick to them.

Step 1: Make a career plan Think about your long–term career goals. Next, think of the tasks you can do in the near future to get your long-term goals done.
Step 2: Follow your career plan You've written down your career plan. Now follow your plan.
  • Tell people about your goals. Find people who will support you and give you feedback.
  • Be sure your goals and the time you need to get them done are realistic.
  • Reward yourself for completing a task.
Step 3: Review and update your career plan You may run into roadblocks or want to change your mind. Don't be discouraged!
  • Change your career plan or tasks if they aren't working for you.
  • Think of new ways to complete your goals.
  • Understand that the world of work changes quickly, and so can you.
  • If needed, use your Plan B.

When you achieve one or more of your career goals, reward yourself. Tell other people what you accomplished and how you did it.

After a little while think of new goals for the next phase of your career.

Remember: planning your career will last for your whole life. You will make new goals several times.

Use the Career Plan Worksheet (pdf) to track your long-term and short-term goals.

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