Your Virtual Counselor! Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action!
The California Career Center. Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action!

Creating A Career Action Plan

The primary career question is: “What field or occupation do I want to pursue?” Once you have an initial answer to this question, a Career Action Plan can help you track your career goals, collect information about occupations that interest you, and describe the steps necessary to achieve success on your chosen career path. Because your Career Action Plan is a living document you can update or modify as often as you like it can serve you well even if your career goals change by providing a place to save new goals and information.   

Use information you have collected or will collect to create your personalized Career Action Plan. Self-assessments, research about the world or work, and other information can be used to help you make decisions for your future, to create your plan.

Remember, your school counselor, parent, guardian, or family friend can be a great resource for helping you develop the details of your Career Action Plan. 

Your Career Action Plan may include both short and long-term goals. Examples of possible short-term goals to move you toward your occupational goal are: I want to further my education, get a part-time or full-time job, or get experience from volunteer, internship, or apprenticeship work. Short-term goals can be reached in 3 to 12 months. Long-term goals can take more than a year. Use these time frames to map out your goals so that it is easier for you to follow your plan. 

The following guidelines can help you create your own short and long-term goals:

  • Specific:  Ask yourself, "Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?"

  • Measurable: Ask yourself, "How many? How much? How will I know when I've achieved this goal?"

  • Achievable: Ask yourself, "Is this something I can commit to? Do I believe I could do this (even if it's hard)? How much time do I have to spend on this goal?"

  • Realistic: Ask yourself, "Is this a doable goal? Is the timing right for this goal? Is the goal too easy? too hard?"

  • Time-Bound Goals: Ask yourself, "When do I want this goal completed and why? What other projects rely on this goal and what dates do they have around them?

Use your short and long-term goals as the starting point from which to make your next move. Next step examples:

  • you may need to enroll in school
  • apply for internships
  • take entrance exams
  • apply for employment
  • or start a trade program in your area of interest

Whatever your next steps may be, clearly describing them in your Career Action Plan will go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals. Only you can determine your career goals and only you can take the steps necessary to achieve those goals.