Once you have a direction and a pathway to follow, it's time to identify the steps and tasks involved in pursuing your career goals.
Whether your next steps are to do some study, find work experience, or start applying for jobs - this is an exciting time! You have so much to look forward to, but it's always good to have a plan in place.
Creating yourself an action plan to map out your step-by-step approach to achieve your work or learning goal will help you stay on track. You can plan for a specific occupation or a general career direction, how to explore career and study options, or plan towards achieving a specific qualification.
Get your action plan together
Make your action planning work
The most effective action plans are:
- based on up-to-date information;
- specific and detailed;
- tied to timelines with specific completion dates;
- challenging but achievable; and
- aligned with your goals and values.
Your own action plan could include a combination of these steps set to a specific timeline.
Use steps to build a plan
You could make a plan that included steps, which helped you to:
- research the occupation in detail and identify a key occupation;
- set yourself a key task like arranging work experience or speaking to someone that works in the field; and
- find out about study or training pathways that would help you to achieve a specific qualification for a preferred occupation.
Amber takes action
Amber has completed a Certificate IV in Landscape Design at TAFE, and she has been working as a landscape technician for two years with a landscape architect company.
She was considering furthering her studies and taking her landscaping work into a more specialised field, but just lately Amber's found herself thinking about the idea of a total career change.
After researching online, Amber felt overwhelmed with choices. She called her local Jobs and Skills Centre and spoke to Carol, a career advisor. After a brief chat over the phone, Carol recommended they get together in person to help Amber clarify her goals, set some timelines and focus on getting an action plan together.
During their meeting, Carol helped Amber clarify her goals for the future, and together they made a list of what Amber would like to get out of her job and career.
Through this process Amber confirmed that with her love of the outdoors, she would like to continue to work outside in nature, and stick to the design side of that field, but more in the area of environmental science or conservation.
They also talked about Amber's goal of starting her own business in the future — maybe not for a few years yet, but Carol suggested that should be included in Amber's action plan and with a timeline, so that she can work on taking steps towards that goal.
Following her meeting with Carol, Amber put together an action plan that included the first steps she could take to reach her goals. Her action plan focused on two areas; Amber's career pathway in the short term and also her longer term goal of setting up her own business.
The plan also included further research using websites recommended by Carol, and making an appointment with a TAFE college to talk to a lecturer in the environmental sciences area about what kind of study would best complement Amber's current qualifications and interests, and help her along the pathway to a change of career focus. Amber included other points as well, such as how she would overcome challenges like family and financial responsibilities.
As per Carol's suggestion, Amber also included some research into business management courses that could help her achieve her longer term goal of starting her own business.
A few months later, Amber has completed one unit of a small business management course at TAFE and is now starting a project management unit. She's really enjoying the study and knows the skills she's gaining will be really useful when she makes the move to start her own business.
Amber has also started volunteering with a local eco-conservation group who are working on designing a waterwise community vegetable garden that will utilise sustainable gardening practices. Amber's researching eco-design online, and loving being able to contribute to the design process for the project — this experience is definitely going to help with her goal to shift her career to focus more on environmental science.
Amber is going to meet with Carol again soon to review her action plan. She feels confident that she's on the right track!