How to do Career Planning

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Anupama Nair


A career may be defined as ‘ a sequence of jobs that constitute what a person does for a living’. According to Schermerborn, Hunt, and Osborn, ‘career planning is a process of systematically matching career goals and individual capabilities with opportunities for their fulfillment’. Career planning is the continuous self-evaluation and planning process done by a person who desires to have a strong career path which is aligned with one's  goals, aspirations and skills. “The process of career planning is the continuous reiterative process of understanding oneself, setting career goals, revising skills and searching for the right career options”.

You may need to start the planning process from the beginning every few years based on the market trends or demand and also on the base of the outcome of the current plan. “Career planning is a step-wise process which enables you to focus on where to want to be in life professionally”. With the short-term goal and the long-term goals in place, you can help to plan your journey in their professional life. Self-assessment is necessary to understand your  capabilities and drawbacks. Various career options should also be explored in detail to find a fit between your abilities and opportunities provided by a career option. It involves continuous learning and improvement to build and growth in the chosen career-path. A good career planning helps you to grow in life in your professional career, which also help you grow personally.

If there is no career planning, then your career would be controlled by external factors and circumstances. Based on decisions and evaluation done by others, the person would go forward in the career. It may lead to a desirable career path, but it can also lead to a job profile which was not at all part of individual's aspiration or career goals.

Career Planning Process:

Career planning process is an important aspect for your career-development. Some of the basic steps in a career planning process are:


The first step in the process is self-assessment to understand your skills, areas of interest, aspirations etc. Aspirations and goals are very important as they would define how a person would create future plan.

Research on career and opportunities:

You need to understand the career options, companies available, growth options in career etc., that are associated with the self-assessment done previously. You need to  identify the correct options and a proper research is required for that. An individual needs to be aware of the market trends and growth areas.

Set Career Objectives:

The next step in the career planning is to set a short-term as well as long-term career goals for yourself, and to have a clear career path. They can be defined as the immediate goals and how you look at your career further down the line. A plan has to be made according to clear objectives.

Learn & Improve Skills

You need to acquire new skills and knowledge to be in line with career objectives and with industry requirements. Many a times there can be clear gaps in the objectives, aspirations and skills. To fill those gaps, proper planning is required to acquire and learn those skills so that career plan can be properly executed. 

Preparation of CV:

You need to be fully prepared in terms of your CV, cover letter, recommendations etc. The CV should clearly highlight the skills, qualifications, objectives that is aligned with the career planning of an individual.

Job or Work Search:

Once you have prepared your CV, next you need to short-list the companies where you are seeking a job and start applying. It can be also working an entrepreneurship project as well. 

Revise Career Goals:

The last step in the career planning process is to always evaluate the career goals and again do a self-assessment to build a strong career path.

Example of Career Planning:

Let us take an example of an engineer Scot Anderson who has recently graduated and was interested in robotics. First  Scot has to assess what kind of robotics he is interested in and what is his skill level. After that, he needs to set the objectives with a time-box approach on how he wants to grow in his robotics career. If there are gaps, he would need to take trainings and courses to reduce the gaps and search for jobs that may be in manufacturing and automotive sector where robotics are a natural fit.

If he is successful in getting a suitable job, career planning can be more precise based on the hands-on experience in the field and then the goals and objective can be defined for new careerpath.

Features of Career Planning:

  • It is an ongoing process.
  • It helps individuals develop skills required to fulfill different career roles.
  • It strengthens work-related activities in the organization.
  • It defines life, career, abilities, and interests of the employees.
  • It can also give professional directions, as they relate to career goals.

Objectives of career planning:

  • To identify positive characteristics of the employees.
  • To develop awareness about each employee’s uniqueness.
  • To respect feelings of other employees.
  • To attract talented employees to the organization.
  • To train employees towards team-building skills.
  • To create healthy ways of dealing with conflicts, emotions, and stress.

Benefits of Career Planning:

  • Career planning ensures a constant supply of promotable employees.
  • It helps in improving the loyalty of employees.
  • Career planning encourages an employee’s growth and development.
  • It discourages the negative attitude of superiors who are interested in suppressing the growth of the subordinates.
  • It ensures that senior management knows about the calibre and capacity of the employees who can move upwards.
  • It can always create a team of employees prepared enough to meet any contingency.
  • Career planning reduces labor turnover.

Every organization prepares succession planning towards which career planning is the first step.



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