Write a career action plan

A career action plan provides a useful framework for your career ambitions. It can be as detailed as you need, marking off the steps on the way to achieving your career goals. It's a great asset in helping you find a focus for your career goals, and maintain steady progress.

Plan to succeed

A career action plan should start with a statement of your objectives. This can be a specific career level, a salary or a more general qualification or status. These goals should be realistic, and measurable.

There are plenty of action plan templates available online, but you need to find one that suits your career. The most basic model identifies where you are now, where you want to be, how long it will take, and the actions required to make it happen. These basic steps can be modified and customised to suit your needs.

Effective planning should prioritise elements of your work that are important to achieve your goal, and identify those areas that are distractions or irrelevant.

It is useful to identify new skills or qualifications that would be useful to acquire. Be ruthless about this. Only include skills that will make it easier to reach your career target.

Plans should set specific deadlines for each step of your career advancement. This will provide motivation and maintain your focus. It can help to put yourself under a little pressure, as long as the time scale remains realistic and achievable.

A career action plan should always have a Plan B section. Unforeseen circumstances can throw your schedule off course, or even make it impossible to achieve. Have a back-up plan outlined for this eventuality.

Career strategy

Effective planning is a vital part of career development. Your career action plan will offer you a strategy for reaching your goals, and you should use it as a regular reference point. That doesn't mean you should let it dictate your every move. Occasionally you might need to retreat and rethink your plan.

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