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

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Anyone can benefit from career planning. Whether you’re a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional, career planning is a great way to evaluate your goals and career trajectory. Planning is especially helpful for you as a newcomer because it can help you re-evaluate your personal and professional goals. It can help you decide early on whether you’d like to go back to school, shift careers, start your own business, or continue in your career path.

What is Career Planning?

According to Career Development Manitoba, 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.”

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 as well as education, training options and supports.
  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 is the point where you identify the path you would be willing to take.
  4. Setting goals – This 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, 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. You can even come up with several directions or scenarios and list down the pros and cons. You can have short term and a long term plans. Career planning makes the journey clearer and more manageable for you so that goals easier to achieve.

It’s a good idea to have your plan in writing. It’s easier to see targets when they are laid out. A checklist can also help motivate you, especially when you begin to get closer and closer to your goal/s. You can use the resources below (Community Resources) to get started.

Regular evaluation:

A career plan, however solid it is, is not set in stone. In life, change is constant. Our wants and needs could change, so can your ambition. Remember to evaluate and revise your career plan periodically.

Most importantly, don’t forget your ultimate purpose. Never settle and keep reaching for the stars. Goodluck and happy planning!

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Community Resources

Still in your home country? If you are 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 a Settlement coach once you arrive in Manitoba. 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 Planning, Government of Canada Job Bank
Career Planning from the University of Manitoba (Student Affairs Career Services)
A Guide to Planning your Career, Government of Manitoba

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