What is a Career Plan and why do you need it?

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Before coming to Canada, did you check out some job opportunities available to you? Did you research the viability of your profession and the requirements to practice it in your new home? Or were you one of those people who came confident that they will be in high demand because of their exemplary education and experience from their home country? Or maybe you were like me and just tossed your fate into the wind and came to Canada hoping for the best, resolving to accept whatever job that comes your way?

Whichever type of newcomer you are, you could benefit from career planning. Not only will this help you sort out your career path in Canada, it will also help you align your personal life with your professional goals, making you adjust and integrate faster.

What is Career Planning?

Career Planning is “a lifelong process that focuses on making choices to help you manage your work and personal life. Good career planning requires information about you, the world of work and commitment.” (Career Development Manitoba, A Guide to Planning your Career).

It has five steps (Career Development Decision Making Model, Manitoba.ca):

  1. Self-evaluation – this involves making an inventory of your skills, talents, interests, and values. See Self-evaluation: Your first step to success.
  2. Exploring options – this means matching your capabilities and resources (as a result of your self-evaluation) to jobs, education and training opportunities. This will require research of the work available to you in Manitoba and education and training options and support.
  3. Making decisions – this stage will require you to analyze your options and choose the work or career you would like to focus on. This mainly involves identifying the path you would be willing to take.
  4. Setting goals – means mapping out the steps toward your goal by preparing an action plan.
  5. Putting your plan into action – committing to your plan by taking the first necessary steps. It could include seeking membership in your professional association, or enrolling in courses towards professional licensing or for a career shift.

Why do you need it?

Ideally, you should do this before coming to Canada. But, as mentioned earlier, you can do this at any point in your life. In fact, even if you are not a newcomer anymore. You need it because it can help you prepare for:

  • entering the workforce
  • planning for education
  • dealing with changing workplace demands
  • anticipating trends or changes
  • planning to upgrade or maintain your skills
  • planning for career advancement

A career development plan makes you focus on resources available to you and your options. Based on this evaluation, it will help you clearly and realistically map out the direction you want to take. You can even formulate several directions or scenarios and list down the pros and cons. Or create short term plans and long term plans. To put it simply, career planning makes the journey clearer and more manageable for you. This will help make your goals easier to achieve.

Make sure to have your plan in writing. This will help you envision your journey and targets better. This will also help motivate you, especially as you begin to get closer and closer to your goal/s.

Regular evaluation:

A career plan, however solid it is, is not written in stone. This is because in life, change is constant. Our wants and needs could change, so can your ambition. Just keep in mind that your career plan may require regular evaluation and revision.

But even as you are open to changes, don’t forget your ultimate purpose or goal. As much as possible, don’t settle for a lesser achievement, especially when you can still fulfill your original goal.

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Community Resources

Still in your home country? If you are already a federally-approved provincial nominee, you can register with Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) for career orientation to help you find and retain work when you land in Canada. If you need additional help, you can get one-on-one coaching with our Career e-mentor once you arrive in Manitoba. We will pair you with established professionals or tradespeople in your line of work to help you plan your career. Both programs are carried out online.

Need a career coach to help map out your career plan? Manitoba Start can help you. You can also go to one of the Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centres near you.

If you want to do it by yourself, here are some helpful resources:
Career Development Decision Making Model, Manitoba.ca
Career Planning and Decision Making from the University of Manitoba (Student Affairs Career Services)

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