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Ten steps to plan your career

Kareen Cox

Choosing a career is one of the most difficult things an individual will have to do in their lifetime. Your career will form the basic foundation for your life, providing the lifestyle that you want as, well as an income to afford the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and shelter, and other important necessities, such as an education, real estate, a retirement plan, and other investments.

Applying thought
However, many persons tend to choose their careers without much thought, resorting instead to either following their parents' advice, or applying for any job that is available, with no consideration given to whether it fits in with their strengths, skills or talents (SST).

It is important to know, that how successful you will be in your chosen career or careers will depend largely on the amount of career planning and preparation you have done. Even if you are already in a job, or have your own business, career planning can help.

Planning for the future
We are currently living in an era of global economic uncertainty and you never know when you will have to look for a new job or move into a more profitable career, so it is important that you spend quality time reflecting on your career and developing some plans for your future.

Planning for your career is a lifelong process, a journey that is different for each individual, with its many sign posts, milestones to achieve, detours and turning points.

It is never too early to start planning for your career, especially since we live in this fast-paced, ever-changing world of work.

Kareen Cox is coordinator, Career Resources Career Development Services Department (CDSD) HEART Trust/NTA. She can be contacted via email: Visit their websites: or

There are ten steps for you can to follow, when that time comes to choose (or change) a career.

1. Develop a career plan. Think about what you want to do and find out more about the kind of training, education, and skills you will need to achieve your career goal.

2. Do a self-assessment. Think hard about what you enjoy, what you are good at, what kind of personality you are, the values you hold, your talents, skills, strength and interest.

3. Research occupation. Find out more about the nature of the jobs that interest you, such as educational requirements, salary, working conditions, future outlook, and anything else that can help you to narrow your focus.

4. Compare your skills and interests with the occupations you've selected. The career that matches your skills, interests, and personality the closest may be the career for you.

5. Establish your career goal. Once you've decided what occupation matches up best with you, then you can begin developing a plan to reach your career goal.

6. Select an institution that offers the training programme that best meets your career goal and financial needs.

7. Find out about financial aid/bursaries/ scholarships to help support you in attaining your career goal.

8. Learn about job search tips as you prepare to graduate or move into the job market or learn about entrepreneurship opportunities as you may need to create your own job.

9. Prepare your resume and cover letter and practice job interviewing techniques.

10. Go to your guidance counsellor(at your high school); placement and career services department (college or university) or local library for additional information and help on career planning, or check out the internet.
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