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

Creating A Career Action Plan

A Career Action Plan helps you track your career goals, information you collect, decisions you make, and the necessary steps to achieve success beyond high school. It is particularly useful because it helps you define your career choice, keeps you on track, and reminds you to be flexible when you experience challenges and transitions.

Use the information you have collected and placed in your portfolio to create your personalized Career Action Plan. The collection of self-assessments, your research from the world or work, and any other information you have gathered along the way you can use to help you make decisions for your future, to create your plan.

Helpful Hint: Seek the assistance of your school counselor to help you lay out the details of your action plan.

The primary career question is: “What field or occupation do I want to pursue?” Possible short-term goals to move you toward that occupation could be: I want to further my education, get a part-time or full-time job, or get experience from volunteer, internship, or apprenticeship work. These are just a few examples of what your Career Action Plan includes.

When completing your Career Action Plan, you will find it useful to have short and long-term goals. The following guidelines can help you create your 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?

Hint: 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.

Use your short and long-term goals as a 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 step may be, a well thought-out Career Action Plan can be the difference between meeting or not meeting your goals.