Careers Action Planning

Some people talk about their career ambitions but never seem to put their ideas into action. Having an action plan helps you to turn your ideas into a reality, encourages you to make regular steps to achieve your goals and stops you from getting stuck in a rut.

What is a careers action plan and why is this useful?

Your career is a lifelong process made up of events such as: part time or full time jobs, work experience, job changes, promotions, academic courses, work based training, voluntary work, family events, travel, health, unemployment, retirement.

Not only does your career provide a means of making a livelihood, it can also have a huge impact upon the way you see yourself, your self fulfilment and happiness.   

If you don't plan your career you limit your capacity to make and implement choices that suit your life situation and future ambitions. You also risk these events happening haphazardly, possibly taking you in a direction that doesn't maximise your full potential. It's like trying to get to an unfamiliar destination by jumping in your car without planning a route or having something to guide you!

Having a plan clarifies your destination and the best routes and methods to get there.  It allows you to plan for any obstacles that may get in your way so that you can navigate through these events and deal with the transitions you will face effectively.

Content of your careers action plan

It is useful to include the following in your action plan:

  • Current situation - describe where you are now in terms of your work and studies and how you view the career transitions you are facing
  • Ideal situation - what are you career goals?
  • SWOT analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • Steps towards goals - identify specifically what you will do to reach your goals and set some deadlines
  • Resources - list the resources that you will use to research your career opportunities and to plan your action
  • Reflection - explain how you are thinking and feeling about your career plans and evaluate the plans you have made so far.  

See our page about the content of your career plan for more information, examples and ideas.

There is a PebblePad Action Planning asset that you can use which covers all of the elements listed above.

Before writing your plan

  • Identify the resources you'll use to do your careers research. See researching careers and our Careers Library Online for suggestions and help.
  • Research your career ideas and the industry you want to work in.  
  • Begin to clarify the skills and personal interests that you want to be part of your career. Some online tools to help you are listed in making career choices.

More help with planning

  • See our page on about the content of your career plan for more information, examples and ideas.
  • Pebblepad (see eportfolio icon on desktop)
  • Windmills - an online career planning tool