All about you

The first, and probably most important, step of career planning is to get to know yourself.

Ask yourself: What skills do you already have? What are you good at? What interests you? What are your top three must-haves in any job? What don’t you enjoy doing?

Narrow it down

Once you’ve worked out what you enjoy doing, and the sorts of things you’re good at, you can start to rule out the jobs, and even sectors, that aren’t for you. For example, if you like meeting new people, being based permanently in an office might not be the best option.

Investigate

Once you’ve rejected certain jobs, you should start to get a feel for the types of jobs you think you do want. Then you need to start researching them.

Ask yourself: What qualifications do you need to get into that job? Do you have them already and if not, could you get them? Do you need experience? What kind of hours would you be working? What benefits would you get?

Elimination

Doing this will help you to narrow things down even further. For example, you may have thought that being a lawyer would suit you, but after finding out that lawyers tend to work very long hours, you might decide differently.

Get going

Once you’ve narrowed your search, you need to take action.

Ask yourself: Do you need more qualifications? How will you get those? What does the job want from you and how can you give it to them?

These steps should simplify things for you, but check out the top tips below if you want some more guidance.

  1. Take your time: Planning your career properly takes time so don’t be frustrated if you feel like you’re not getting anywhere straight away.
  2. Write everything down: It’s always good to remind yourself of what you wanted at the beginning of the process to see how things have changed.
  3. Make a list: Write down the ‘must, should and could’ elements right at the very start to help focus you.