Why Career Planning Is Important for Success

Posted by Calling All Optimists on Apr 16, 2020

A successful career doesn’t typically happen by chance. In order to build one and get all the benefits that come from it, you need to spend some time reflecting on what you want and how you will get there—that’s exactly what career planning does for you. But, why is career planning so important?

Career planning gives you a roadmap to your future

Career planning outlines how you’re going to get from Point A (where you are now) to Point B (your ultimate career goal). With an end goal in mind, you’ll be able to identify which actions you need to take to get there. These actions might include things like assessing job descriptions to see what you need to do to qualify for them, attending networking events to make new connections, and exploring different companies and industries to see if they’re the right fit. 

Career planning identifies gaps you need to fill

Speaking of actions you need to take; career planning helps you identify where you might have a little more learning to do. This might mean taking additional courses, becoming certified in a new skill, or even going to graduate school. Grad school is a great way to accelerate your career path and meet your career goals sooner. It gives you the opportunity to fill a variety of skill gaps at once, make professional connections that’ll support you for the rest of your career, and pivot in an entirely different direction. 

Career planning gives you space for ongoing personal reflection

How often do you actually sit down and think about your professional development other than during your annual review? A good career plan takes into account your strengths, weaknesses, values, and what you like and need out of a career. So, this is your opportunity to reflect on what you have to offer to the world (and potential employers), how your career plan fits your life, and identify ways that you can grow (personally and professionally).

Career planning provides much-needed motivation and guidance

As much as you may want it to, your career path will not likely follow a straight line. Having a career plan will help you stay motivated during all the twists and turns your career path throws at you. And, most importantly, it will guide you during times when you are considering career or industry changes by helping you figure out whether your choice truly fits the plan.

So, where do you begin? The easiest way is to start writing everything down. Whether you use our career planning guide or you create your own, it is essential to document your thoughts.

And before you go, please remember a few things. Your career plan does not have to be set in stone. While it’s important to set goals, make it a habit to review your plan every few months to make sure it still matches what you want out of a career. Also, following your career plan won’t be a perfect process. Try not to be discouraged by the possible obstacles along the way. No matter what may change, your career plan is there to ground you and guide you on your path to success!