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Writing a Career Action Plan

Part 1: What is It and How Can It Help Me?

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Developing a career action plan is the fourth step in the career planning process. One arrives at this step after a thorough self assessment and a complete exploration of viable career options which were identified during the self assessment. Next, one must choose from those occupations after examining them carefully and determining which one is the best match. The career planning process is ongoing, and bi-directional, meaning you can move back to previous steps when you need to gather more information or clarify your choices. Once you have identified an occupation to pursue you should develop an action plan.

An action plan can be considered a road map that will get you from point A -- choosing an occupation -- to Point B -- becoming employed in that occupation. It even helps you get past Point B, to Points C through Z, as you grow in that career. It is also referred to as an Individualized (or Individual) Career Plan or an Individualized (or Individual) Career Development Plan.

According to Individualized Career Plan Models - Eric Digest No. 71(ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education), “Personal plans of action -- individualized career development plans -- are becoming important instruments that counselors and others are using to help their students and/or clients (both youth and adults) meet their changing goals, interests and needs in this fast-paced, rapidly changing society.” Though the ERIC Digest talks about individualized career plans being used by counselors and other professionals, you can develop a plan yourself. Even if you do work with a counselor, you will need to do some of the work yourself. For example, a counselor can't set your goals for you. He or she will just help you clarify your goals and help you find strategies to reach them. In addition, an action plan should be amended over time as your goals change, your priorities change, and your career grows. Let's begin now to take a look at how to develop a career action plan step-by-step.

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