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The Building Blocks of Career Planning
Although career planning may seem overwhelming, following the steps in these four building blocks will help you research and attain your career goal:
  Self Assessment
Create a personal inventory of your skills, interests, values, personality and learning style.
Learn as much as you can about careers that interest you - how much does it pay, what are the working conditions, etc.
  Make a Fit
It's now time to decide how to match your personal inventory with careers that require your strengths and skill sets.
  Create a Plan
This may include locating an education program, selecting a school, financial aid, resume preparation, standardized admission tests and interviewing techniques.
Keep reading for more information on how to structure your career planning:

Don't be modest - do be honest! Create a personal inventory of your strengths and skill sets by following these steps:

1. Write a list of skills you have acquired.
For example:
  • Basic skills - such as reading, writing, speaking, listening
  • Social skills - such as teaching, negotiation, persuasion
  • Technical skills - such as analysis, trouble-shooting, decision making
  • Management skills - such as time management, motivation and direction of others, management of financial and material resources
2. What are your interests?
Create a list of activities and interests that you have really enjoyed in the last five years. Is there a common theme?

3. What do you value in the workplace?
Create a list of what you need in the job environment. For example, you may value some of the following: Feel that your work makes a difference. Job security. Have regular hours. Work as a team. Work independently. Have respect and status. Helping others. Salary. Work with your hands. Work outdoors.

4. What is your learning style?
Online learning is different in many respects from the traditional face-to-face learning we're all used to, primarily in the way we get our information and how we interact with instructors and classmates. Many people say they learn more online, and their retention is better too.

  • Learn as much as you can about the careers that interest you:
    From what you have learned in the step above, create a short list of careers you are interested in.
  • For each career that interests you, prepare and conduct an information interview with a person already employed in that occupation.
  • Write to professional organizations requesting more information on the profession and potential contact names.
  • Other methods to research potential careers include job shadowing, volunteering, contract employment, work-study programs and summer employment.

Finding that perfect match
It's now time to decide how to match your personal inventory with careers that require your strengths and skill sets.
  • Examine what you learned about yourself when you completed the steps in your self-assessment.
  • Review the occupations you have researched.
  • Now compare your interests and skills with those occupations.
  • Determine which career best matches your values, personality, skills and interests.

Now you're ready to move on to creating a plan to attain your career goal . . .

Time for Action
Now that you have a career goal, an action plan needs to be created.
Here are the top things to consider when creating your plan:

Determine what educational requirements are necessary for your career. Do you need a degree, a certificate, just a few courses or vocational training?
Determine which schools will provide you with the education you need. Which school best meets your needs? Consider your lifestyle and family needs. Are classes offered at a convenient time for you? Is the school accredited?

What are the admissions requirements and procedures? In some cases, you may have to write an entrance test or exam.
What is the cost of the education required? Will you require financial aid? Could you qualify for a scholarship. Are loans or grants available to you?

What is a realistic time frame to reach your career goal? Will you study full-time or part-time?

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