The Career Planning Process
One of the most difficult decisions we all face is choosing a career path. Considering the long-term ramifications of such a consequential decision can be overwhelming. This can lead to procrastination and hasty, last-minute decisions. A career planning process provides a framework for calm decision-making.
Following a systematic career planning process helps identify your strengths and interests and highlight potential careers that match. Part of any good career planning approach considers current and projected career prospects of a particular field.
For most college students career choices inform degree program choices. Landing on a well-researched career goal illuminates the ideal academic path to reach that goal.
As part of its mission, Touro University Worldwide offers students numerous program resources to guide them through the process of finding a career that meets their interests and challenges their skills to the best use. TUW’s ultimate goal is that every student flourishes in their chosen field.
What Is Career Planning?
Career planning maps the critical steps needed for strategic career goal setting. Goals may include earning a degree, building industry networks and seeking mentorship, sending out applications, and landing that first job.
While often associated with high school seniors or college students, career planning also applies to working adults and mid-career professionals.
Many older college students decide that it’s time to make a change. A job that no longer encourages your growth, perhaps, looking for new challenges, avoiding burnout, or leaving a harmful workplace. Whatever the reason, following a deliberate path of career planning set you up for success.
Steps for Successful Career Planning
The following steps provide a solid framework of self-reflection, investigation, research, strategizing, and discovery.
Conduct a Self-Assessment
The first step in the career planning process involves taking a long, honest look at yourself. Take the time to thoroughly assess your strengths, preferences, passions, work style, and financial needs. Look back to past experiences and identify what you did and did not enjoy doing. Some people, for example, like working in an office and wearing business attire. Others enjoy flip-flops, T-shirts, and working remotely. Some work well with language, others with numbers.
Be thorough, listing your preferences, talents and skills, and personal and professional values.
Conduct Career Research
After your self-inventory, it’s time to research the many different occupations available. Once you have shortlisted possible careers, research the marketplace and companies that operate in that marketplace. Read online reviews from people who work for those companies. Talk to friends and family who have jobs in those industries. Set up an informal interview with a professional in the field, if possible, or find an internship or job shadowing opportunity. Attend networking events and seminars. Read about the career outcomes associated with different specializations.
The goal is to match as best you can your perception of a particular career path with the reality of working in that profession.
Match Interests With Careers
This step works in tandem with career research. Focus on the careers that fit your interests and skills. Look to careers where you feel reasonably confident of success. Also, determine the demand in the field, ensuring there will be plenty of job openings in the future. It’s a winnowing process. For example, if you want to stay in your current city, you can eliminate any jobs requiring you to relocate. And while money isn’t everything, it’s important to know what type of salary you can expect in your chosen career.
Set Benchmarks and Goals
Once you’ve chosen a career path, it’s time to set concrete benchmarks that move you toward your new career. Earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or certificate may well be one of these benchmarks. If so, set a date for when you will apply to the schools of your choice.
As you move forward, other benchmarks include applying for jobs, contacting people you know in the industry, and attending networking events. In addition to these short-term targets, set your longer-term goals, like when you’ll get your degree and plan to get your first job in your new career. After that, set targets for mid and senior-level career goals.
Setting benchmarks along your journey motivates you to stay on track to reaching your ultimate career goals. Writing these benchmarks and goals down helps them feel “real” and achievable with the right combination of focus and work.
TUW Supports Career Planning
TUW administrators and faculty embrace the benefits of the goal setting and career planning process. The university offers educational advice helping students choose the right degree program to achieve their career goals.
TUW’s services are available to new, transfer, and continuing students. They include creating degree plans for students, guiding degree and course selection, and ensuring they stay on track for completing their degrees.
Touro University Worldwide’s 100% online programs offer an extensive catalog of degrees for careers in health and human services, business, and human resources. They include:
- Health Care Facility Director
- Clinical Laboratory Managers
- Residential Counselor
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- Child and Family Social Worker
- Case Manager
- Industrial and Organizational Psychologist
- Human Resource Psychologist
- Employee Training Psychologist
- Worker Productivity Psychologist
- Personnel Analyst
- HR Consultant
Putting a career planning process into place gives you the framework to make the best career choice. Systematic career planning requires time, patience, and focus, but it is time well spent as it leads to a fulfilling and prosperous career.