The Career Planning Process

Career planning process

Many people are unaware of the benefits of career planning and the process behind it. Planning your career path can be very important and it doesn’t matter if you are still in education, simply looking for a career change or trying to improve your work-life balance. Planning provides a clear path that helps you to get where you want to be, whilst also allowing you to figure out what is best for you.

When planning your career, there are 4 steps:

Step 1: Understand Yourself

Taking the time to understand yourself is really important and is the first step of the career planning process.

Having a clear understanding of yourself will help you to figure out what career to enter, the business culture that you want to work in and can even improve your satisfaction when you start employment. Reflect on your past experiences (personal and professional), thinking about; what did you like or dislike, what are your key strengths or what new skills you want to learn.

After this personal assessment, you will be able to establish clear short and long term career development goals. Which will help you to hit key milestones in your career: be it getting a promotion, learning new skills or hitting top biller. For your goals, think about where you want to be and what do you want from your career.

Understanding your strenghts and weaknesses will also help you when you go to interviews, as you will be able to prepare thoroughly which will give you an edge compared to other applicants.

Step 2: Understand The Market

The next step in the career planing process is undertaking some market research.

Once you understand and have piroirtised your career aspirations, goals and professional development, you can then start assessing what work is currently available and which industries are performing well.

To do this you can use sites like the BBC or the ONS (Office for National Statistics). The BBC regularly posts interesting articles and other insights into industry performance/improvement. Market Research is something that you should undertake when career planning as you can consider if the sector will have some level of stability, progression or evolution.

Step 3: Comparison and Evaluation

Now that you understand what is available and your aspirations a little better. You can start comparing the options to find the best career path for you. Some people find undertaking a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis beneficial others prefer to simply discuss the options with a peer. There is no set way for you to undertake this phase of the career planning process, it is simply personal preference!

You can even try temporary work, internships or job-shadowing to sample possible career paths. These options have an excellent opportunity for you to try some of the responsibilities of the role, shadow experts in the industry and evaluate the workplace culture.

Step 4: Action

The final step in the career planning process is simple: action. Once you have completed these steps above, you’ll have a good idea if this is the right path for you.

Now you can start searching for your next opportunity! Rewriting your CV will be imperative, try focussing on any transferable skills and experiences that you have in the industry when completing this. Next, you can start applying for roles or send your CV directly to recruitment agencies – like us!


We help hundreds of people kick-start their careers in a variety of industries. Our consultants take time to understand what you are looking for and help you achieve your aspirations and goals. Have a look at our current vacancies and see if there is something there that will help you with your career.

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