Make a Career Plan

Career planning is essential when pursuing a new career or looking to advance in a current one. Learn important strategies here.

Make a career plan


What do I need to do before pursuing a career? What types of goals should I set for myself? How will I stay motivated? Developing a career plan can help you outline a clear path as you begin looking for a new job.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to assess what you need to develop your career objective, how to write S.M.A.R.T. career goals, and how to create your own career plan. We'll also provide some different techniques you can use to stay motivated as you work toward your goals.

Watch the video below to learn how to use the S.M.A.R.T. method to develop your career plan.

Why develop a career plan?

Will I really be able to find a new career? What do I need to get started? How will I stay motivated? As you begin developing a plan for your career, the entire process can begin to feel a little overwhelming. While there's no shortcut to finding a new career, creating a career plan can make the process much more manageable. By developing a career plan, you'll be able to set clear goals for yourself and follow your progress as you work toward a career objective.

Below are some questions to ask yourself as you begin thinking about your career plan:

Developing a career objective

Creating an overall career objective is the first step in creating a career plan. A strong objective will allow you to focus on what you really want to achieve in your career. While objectives will vary based on your individual needs and desires, below are a few different examples of career objectives:

Reaching your objective

It's important to remember that there is no single path to reaching your career objective. The process might simply take longer or be more complicated than you originally planned. You may even realize that your career objective is simply too difficult to reach in its current form. Whatever your situation, remain flexible and don't be afraid to adjust your plan or even create an entirely new career objective.


As you begin pursuing your career, take some time to assess your progress and adapt your objective to meet your specific needs. If you aren't satisfied with your progress, be willing to try new approaches rather than give in to frustration. A little persistence can make a significant difference as you work toward your career objective.

Setting career goals

Now that you have a better idea of what you need to reach your career objective, you will want to create some career goals. Setting definite career goals will help you stay on track as you progress toward your career objective. Your goals will vary based on your objective, but below are some examples of different career goals:

While it's important to set meaningful career goals, you might become discouraged if these goals are too difficult to achieve. Try using the S.M.A.R.T. goal method to help you create realistic and attainable career goals.

Click the arrows in the slideshow below to learn more about how to write S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Creating a career plan

Once you have created a career objective and have formulated your career goals, you should have a clearer idea of the career path you want to follow. Drafting a career plan will help you figure out exactly what you need to pursue your chosen career.

Try this!

Download the Career Planning Worksheet (.doc or .pdf) and follow along to create your own career plan.

Staying motivated

Now that you have a clear plan for achieving career success, here are a few tips that can help keep you motivated and on task: