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a man writing a career plan

Everyone can benefit from creating a career plan. Whether you’re studying, you want to change careers or are keen for a promotion. Knowing the next steps in your career becomes clear with career planning.

A succinct, detailed career plan is one of the most useful tools you can use to identify where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there.

It allows you to determine your skills and interests, set career goals, and put actions in place that will help you reach them.

Below are the 5 steps of career planning these key steps will help you create your own simple career plan.

Looking for an actual template to help with your career planning? Check out SEEK’s free career plan template here >>

5 steps of career planning Self Evaluation, Skills Analysis, Setting your direction, committing to a timeframe and reviewing your plan

Number 1 self evaluation


To discover what you really want to do, try answering these fundamental questions about your personality, preferences and values:

  • What motivates me and what do I enjoy doing?
  • What are my personal attributes and lifestyle priorities?
  • What do my family and friends see as my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the five key things I am looking for in a job?

Number 2 Skills Analysis

Skills Analysis

As well as your personal preferences, your existing skills are an important indicator of the direction in which you could head. Reflect on your skill set with the following questions:

  • What qualifications and experience do I have?
  • What are my key strengths, transferable skills and specific skills?
  • What are my biggest achievements to date?
  • What are my opportunities for development?

Here’s a great article which talks about what types of skills employers want, how to improve your skills and transferable skills. Do I need previous experience article >>

Number 2 Setting your career plan direction

Setting Your Career Plan Direction

Based on your key interests, attributes, skills and experience, you can now start to formulate ideas on the type of roles/industries that will suit you best.

Try brainstorming as part of your career plan to determine your career paths:

  • The broad industries that really appeal to you
  • The types of roles that would suit you best
  • How these options match your personal preferences, skills or abilities
  • Key skills or training that may need development to be successful in this industry

Number 4 Committing to a Timeframe

Committing to a Timeframe

Now that you have an idea of where you want to go, it’s time to work out how you can get there, determine your short term and long term goals. Ask yourself the following questions to help break down your goals into smaller, more manageable milestones for your career plan:

  • What do I want to achieve within the next six, twelve, eighteen months?
  • When and how will I achieve my training and education goals?
  • How and when will I gain the additional skills and experience I need?
  • How can I expand my network, and by when?

Number 5 Reviewing your career plan

Reviewing your Career Plan

Having established your goals and how to achieve them, you will now have a clear pathway in which to head. It’s important to monitor the progress of your career development plan at least every six months, to ensure that you are on track to meet your career goals.

Re-evaluating your career plan and goals allows you to make adjustments based on changing economic and personal circumstances.


Whilst it’s important to create a Career Plan and know where you are heading, we recognise that sometimes the reality is that we have to “take a job just for now”. If you have been out of work for a while you may have to take the first opportunity that presents itself and make the most of it. Don’t sit around waiting for the “perfect job” because you may miss out on learning new skills, meeting new people and earning an income in the process.



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