How to create a personal career plan

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Do you have a  career plan?

Until a number of years ago I’d never really thought serious about the direction my career was going in. Yes, I’d had to set a plan as part of my annual appraisal when I worked for an international company however, as far as I could see, no-one really took them seriously and I’d never considered a personal career plan; one aimed at where I wanted my career to go as opposed to where a company expected my career to go.

It wasn’t until we moved abroad that I realized the value of sitting down and creating a personal career plan. Some people talk about a one year plan, some 5 years and others a 10 year plan although initially mine was a plan that didn’t have a specific time frame (that’s something I’ve tightened up on since).

Without a plan, you don’t really know where your career is headed and that kind of works for a lot of people; until an obstacle gets in the way as it did for me and that’s when you suddenly realise that having a plan is not such a bad idea. A personal career plan is a specific approach to ensure that your career is going in the right direction and provides you with the opportunity to grow and do something you really enjoy.

Here are three steps that I followed to create my own personal career plan:

Assess your current situation

What is your job and do you enjoy it (or at least 90% of it)?

What job would you really like to be doing? Is it your bosses job or something completely different? Perhaps you are unsure?


Once you’ve reviewed where you are you can start to set yourself some goals to help you get to where you want to be in your career. After deciding on your goal, start listing the steps you need to take to achieve it. This could be anything from reviewing your work achievements so you are armed with hard evidence when you go to ask your manager for a promotion or dusting off your CV so you can look for something completely different. Achieving each of these small steps brings you that bit closer to achieving your ultimate goal.

For example, you may want to make a complete change in career so your ultimate goal may be to be able hand in your resignation to your current job. Before you can do that, you will have had to assess just what it is you want to do, revise your CV, carry out research on possible jobs, decide on a job search strategy, apply for jobs, prepare for interviews and so on. Each of these is an action step that takes you closer to your ultimate goal of being able to resign from your current position; and each of these steps is an important part of a successful personal career plan and should be accompanied by realistic deadlines and rewards for meeting those deadlines in order to keep you motivated and working towards your goal.


This step is simple; just follow your plan as closely as possible. Of course, while implementing your plan, it is also important to monitor your progress as you go along and re-evaluate your goal from time to time.

Be aware that in life not everything goes entirely to plan so while trying to follow your personal career plan, be prepared to have to work at it and around the obstacles that will occasionally get in the way.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – proverb

Contact Anne if you would like help in developing your personal career plan.


I am a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Employment Interview Consultant, and Career Coach and it is my aim to help ambitious and motivated people like you become fully empowered to get the job you want.