Last Updated:3/23/2006 11:39:46 AM
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Gone are those days where you could depend on continuous employment and job security. With minimal planning, your career happened naturally. Consequently, we are unaware of today's career challenges. In a today’s competitive environment the level of uncertainty has increased. Even the question, "what's my future?" bothers to most confident individuals. And the answers are not quickly forthcoming.

Hence, it is essential to take control of your career and the decisions which will pose responsibility and reward, accountability and achievement. Career planning helps you meet your professional and personal need.

Career planning is a lifelong process. It is not something which will end at one stage of your life. It is process that,
arrow Takes Time
arrow Needs Action
arrow Is your own responsibility
Along this continuum, career decisions will differ according to your personal and professional criteria at each juncture of life. With research and guidance, you can clarify goals; achieve balance among work, family and self; and avoid reactive and costly decisions.

The career development process helps you to assess your skills and interests, and explore the options at every stage. This will enable you to formulate career strategies which respect your personal and professional priorities.
The starting point in the career development process is identifying your skills, competencies, values, interests, goals and personality style in order to analyze the available career paths and to explore realistic job opportunities. The key questions include:
arrow What do I like to do?
arrow What is my identity?
arrow What are my interests?
arrow What do I value in the workplace?
arrow What motivates me and what do I need to do to grow professionally?
arrow What skills/competencies do I possess? What new ones do I want to develop?
This will lead you to self analysis which will form the base for all the decisions.
Identify and research your career options matching to your interests, values, skills and personality. See your identity as a "career researcher" who identifies resources, gathers information, and evaluates career options. Your task is to find information sources and to target organizations that meet your specific requirements.
You need to narrow down your search and based on your goals, decide what kind of job suits you. Also identify the kinds of organizations and positions that are a good "fit" for you. Decide on the kind of job that will fit your interests, values, skills, experience and knowledge.
Develop your action plan. One way is networking wherein you can develop relationships with people who can provide current career information in your specific field of interest. It is also the best way to acquire jobs. The major resource in the job search process is an effective network. In addition to this effective resume, CV, and cover letter writing, and presentation, interview, and job negotiation skills should be reviewed and practiced.
Career development is an ongoing process and needs evaluation at various stages of life. Managing your career is a life-long process. As you grow professionally amidst a changing job market, you will need to constantly re-assess your career development and make any necessary adjustments. Review your goals and decisions continuously. Always keep your network active and up-to-date.

A career is something you build throughout your lifetime. Career planning is when you look ahead and strategies about where you want to go and how you can get there. A career is often something that excites you and uses your talents in a way that fits with your personal aspirations.