Career planning is a lifelong process. It involves a series of decisions repeated over time as your priorities and opportunities change.
|D||Decision making and planning||Setting goals and making decisions|
|O||Opportunity awareness||Exploring available occupations and industries|
|T||Transition learning||Taking action and applying for jobs|
|S||Self awareness||Learning about your skills, values, interests and personal style|
Although called DOTS, the steps are done in the following order:
To develop self awareness, consider the following questions. Your answers could come from your experiences in education, employment, voluntary and community activities, hobbies, sport and recreation.
|Skills||What do you do well?|
|Values||Where does work fit in your life? What lifestyle do you want?|
|Interests||What do you enjoy? What past roles, experiences and interests have you enjoyed?|
|Personal style||What are your strengths and qualities (for instance, loyalty, commitment, desire to learn)?|
You need relevant and accurate information, and you need to assess it well.
Develop a list of questions. Consider:
Relate these back to your answers to the self awareness questions.
Use a range of sources including:
Assess the credibility of the information by thinking about the:
What do you think about the information you have collected? What are the key points? Can you see any clear or strong opportunities here?
Consider your options carefully. You could prioritise or come up with a shortlist. From there, your decision could be based on one or more of these:
Remember, some risk and compromise will be involved in your decision. No one decision can meet all your needs for the rest of your career.
Develop a set of goals. They need to be specific and manageable. Break them into short and long-term goals.
Short-term goals are quick, simple activities to get you started. They could include:
Long-term goals are your ultimate career goals - to become a business consultant, a research scientist or a journalist, for instance.
Start now - do not wait until you finish your course. Use a systematic approach.
Over time, things may change. Your interests and values may change. Your chosen field or industry may change.
Most people will go through the career planning and review cycle many times in their lives.
To move into a career of your choice you will need to develop your job application skills, including:
Use online sources, family, friends, networks and newspapers to find out where the jobs are
Write a targeted resume and cover letter for each job you are applying to, complete application forms, respond to key selection criteria.
Be prepared, research the organisation and practice different interview questions
Using your contacts (family, friends, former colleagues or employers), talk to people who work in an occupation of interest to you, cold call - in person or by phone
Find a mentor/coach who can use their experience to guide you towards your career goals
Keep up to date with what's happening in your industry (this can help with applications and interviews) and develop your skills by attending seminars and conferences and make professional connections to extend your network.
Career planning is a never ending process and in order to succeed you should always be re-evaluating your current situation and circumstances.
You can make an appointment with a careers education consultant if you need help developing your career plan.