How to Write a Career Action Plan

Are you feeling a little lost in your career? It could be that you don’t have an action plan. 

A career action plan is a detailed map, carefully laying out the route of your professional career. Providing clarity and focus, each step and potential barrier is a signpost directing you to your destination.

What Does a Career Action Plan Look Like?

Write your career action plan so it makes the most sense to you. However, career plans generally have the same structure:

  • Your starting point.
  • A destination.
  • Gaps.
  • Actions steps.

Your career action plan should include both short-term and long-term goals and the steps it will take to achieve each one. Include timelines and target dates.

Creating a Career Action Plan

1. Self-Assessment

Are you looking for a new career altogether? Or are you wishing you were further along in your current field? Either way, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What are my skills?
  • What motivates me each day?
  • If I were to switch careers, what would I do?
  • What drains me of energy?
  • What energizes me?
  • Where am I in my current field?
  • Can I go farther up the ladder? 

In this self-assessment, you need to—

  • Identify whether you’re happy in your current role.
  • Obtain a clear idea of your skill level and aptitude for alternative careers.
  • Start considering your options for the future.

2. Choose a Destination

Whether you’re new to your field or a career veteran, moving up in your current field or choosing a different direction, you must identify your destination.

Brainstorm where you see yourself in two, five, or ten years. What if nothing were holding you back?

Create a “destination” goal for yourself—articulated, concise, and specific. You may have one or two destination goals, but keep them compatible.

3. Identify the Gaps

Now that you know where you want to go, ask yourself, “What will it take me to get there?”  It’s time to dig into some serious research. 

Ensure you understand the requirements, skill sets, experience, and education required for your desired role. Create a list of the skills, certifications, education, and experience that you’ll need. Compare and contrast what you have already done with what you must still do. Then, articulate actionable steps and short-term goals to help you “close the gap.”

4. Map Your Route

It’s time to start tying everything all together. Putting together all your research, map out the steps needed to accomplish each benchmark goal, leading to your primary objective. Organize everything into a clear, logical timeline. Give yourself deadlines to hold yourself accountable.

Keep things clear and concise. Use bullet points. Avoid long paragraphs and complicated headings.

Just Remember –

Your career action plan is a living, breathing thing. Goals may change. Projected barriers will change. You may find yourself jumping back and forth between planning steps as research and analysis eliminate different ideas. Reevaluating and pivoting as you go—both in planning and actuality—are integral to healthy career growth.

At the Robert Joseph Group, we can help you find your place in accounting and finance. As a premier staffing agency providing top-tier solutions, we’re the answer to your job search. Contact us today!