STEP 1- KNOWING YOURSELF
The first step in career planning should be to gather information about yourself to assist in making about a career. You should develop an understanding of self- including values, interest, aptitudes, abilities, personal traits, and desired life style and become aware of interrelationship between self and occupational choice.
Career assessments can help you explore your interests, skills,
values, and preferences as they relate to choosing a combination or career. While no assessment can perfectly describe who you are or what your career is to be, they are valuable in helping you narrow your search and consider options you may not have previously considered.
Assess your current situation. Get to know your interest skills and values and think about both the personal and the broader factors that could influence your work and learning choices.
- Where do you start? Think about where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.
- What are my interests? Explore your work interests.
- What are my skills? Explore your abilities.
- What is important now? Clarify what is important to you in your work and your life.
- What else do I need to think about? Think about the other factors that will affect your work and learning decisions.
Explore the occupations and learning opportunities on offer and find out about the occupations that interest you.
If you haven’t already checked out knowing yourself to review and clarify your work/ learning goals and get to know your skills, interests and values.
For each occupation, explore yourself:
- What are the daily tasks and duties?
- What are the working conditions?
- What are the personal requirements?
- What skills and training do I need?
- What career paths are available?
- Where is the work?
- How do I find out more about my preferred occupations?
It is important that you try to make any decisions at this point and keep an open mind. Use the tools below to help you.
Once you have a selection of occupations that interest you, start researching specific occupations. You can the move onto narrowing down your options.
STEP 2- EXPLORATION
The second step in career planning is to explore and research your options. Exploring takes your self- assessment a step further by looking at your personal interests, skills, values, and work- life needs and narrowing down areas of possibilities. The process involves investigating the world of work in greater depth, narrowing a general occupational direction into a specific one through an informed decision making process, and declaring a combination.
Typically, combinations don’t dictate your career choice nor should your career dictate your combination. However, there are specialized careers, like nursing and accounting, which require specialized combination. The best combination for you would be one that arouses your curiosity and creativity, challenges you and helps you develop lifelong learning strategies. There are so many choices to consider, how can you know which combination will provide you with the skills to adjust the quick changes in the world of work? Research, research and research are the keys to providing you with the right information before selecting a combination.Whether you have just completed school, finished studying or you are changing career you can use your action plan to map out step- by- step approach to achieving your work or learning goal.
You can plan:
- For a specific occupation
- Your general career direction
- To achieve a specific qualification
- To do more research; and
- To explore a range of career and study options.
Some points about action planning
The most effective action plans are:
- Based on up- to- date information;
- Specific and detailed;
- Tied to time lines with specific completion dates;
- Challenging but achievable; and
- Aligned with your goals and values.
Try these suggestions:
Try basing your plan on a specific occupation. If you are not ready to commit then use the experience to help you learn more about the planning process and about the occupation. Sometimes just trying out the process of planning can help you to clarify your options.
You could make a plan that included steps, which helped you to;
- Research the occupation in detail;
- Identify a key occupation;
- Set yourself a key task like arranging work experience or speaking to some one that works in the field; and
- Find out about the study or training pathways that would help you achieve a specific qualification for a preferred occupation.
Your plan could include a combination of these steps set to a specific timeline.
STEP 3- DECISIONS MAKING AND GOAL SETTING
After having completed you self- assessment and explored your options you should be ready to make some career decisions. The question now is how you will decide. Using the information you have gathered and analyzed, you can now evaluate your options. What will you use as your criteria to evaluate your options and experiences?
- Identify the pros and cons of each college combination or career.
- Explore how each combination or career relates to your interests, skills, and values.
- Project the probable future consequences of each combination or career choice.
Do you have enough information to choose one option over another? If not, you might need to do more research. Some other questions to consider:
- Have I fully considered and narrowed down, to the best of my ability, my interests, values, and skills?
- Have I explored careers beyond the surface?
- Have I reflected on how my experiences fit my interests, values, and skills?
- Have I gathered enough information to feel comfortable making a decision?
- How much information do I need to gather to make a decision?
- Have I challenged assumptions or myths that I may hold about certain careers or the career- making process itself?
After you decide on a direction, you are ready to develop your plan and take action. You should break your career plan down into your goals you can reach in a year or less and goals you want to reach in five years or less. You can use increments of one or two years in this five year plan, as well. This breakdown will make your plan easier for you to follow.
- What are the most important steps you need to take to achieve each goal/ objective?
- What is target date for completing each step?
- What information or resources do you need to follow through on your decision?
- What are the obstacles to implementing your decision and how can you overcome them?
MAKING DECISIONS TOOLS AND RESOURCES
You have explored the occupations or study options that interest you.
Now is the time to narrow down your choices and choose the best option for you, now.
Use the tools below to help you compare your work and study options.
Look at how each of your choices fits with your skills, interests, values and personal circumstances.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, you can take action.
- Prepare a pros and cons list
- Compare your options
Go to knowing yourself if you are not sure about:
- What you want to achieve;
- Your skills, interests and values; or how your personal circumstances will be impacted.
Go to finding out if you are:
- Not sure how to research your preferred occupations;
- Unclear about the range of occupations available;
- Uncertain about the education and training options on offer; or
- Undecided about your preferred occupations.
Before you use the tools below ask yourself:
- What are my preferred work/ learning options?
- How do they match with my skills, interests and values?
- How do they fit with the current labor market
- How do they fit with the current situation and responsibilities?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
- What will help and what will hinder me?
- What will I do about it?
Try these suggested activities
- Speak to people working in your preferred occupations.
- Even if you think you are not ready, use the Making decisions tools to find out what else you need to know so that you can narrow down your choices.
- Speak to a career practitioner.
STEP 4- GAINING EXPERIENCE
Career related experience can help you develop the skills, abilities and knowledge to solidify your career goals. Students can gain experience through holiday jobs, part-time jobs, volunteer experience, leadership opportunities and involvement in school activities. Students can make themselves more marketable by completing a co-op or internship experience.
Reasons to consider gaining career related experience:
- Give you a chance to ‘’reality test’’ the work experience.
- Gain a competitive edge over other candidates who have no career related experience
- Acquire new skills that will strengthen your resume
- Get a head start on finding a full- time job
- Gain references for future use
Co- Op experiences
Cooperatives Education allows students to gain academic credit through work experience related to the program of study. This plan integrates classroom study with employment and is based on the principle that learning does not confine itself to academic achievement but equally dependent upon practical experience. The work experience is planned, progressive, and closely related to the curriculum and career interest of the student. Cooperative Education is limited to particular programs of study. Students should see an advisor for more information about this opportunity.
Internships are typically one- time work experiences related to a student’s major or career goal. The internship plan generally involves a student working in a professional setting under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals. Internships can be a paid or unpaid experience. You can find an internship experience through networking or searching online.
Volunteering is another way for you to gain skills that are easily transferable to your professional career. The experience highlights your commitment to service and you gain a stronger understanding of a variety of issues that impact the community.
Volunteering can also expand your professional network. Many organizations have volunteer boards that govern and assist in the operation of the organization. These are typically professionals in the community who are seeking engaged, committed new professionals to work at their company.
A presentation to Kinaawa High School Kasangati on 25th June 28, 2016
By Hajj Mukasa Sirajeh Katantazi