Everything you need to know about putting together a career plan together


In this post, we’ll go through a 5 step career planning tool that will help you start creating a career trajectory for yourself. 

5 Step Career Planning Tool

Let's understand what each of these mean. 

1. Likes/Dislikes

This is your raw data. Take a hard look at your past activities and jobs and lay everything you liked and didn’t liked.

Be specific and not general here. 


People tend to enjoy doing things they are naturally good at. This exercise will help you understand your strengths.

Likes and Dislikes Example - Kunal Chopra | Candid Career Talk

2. Ideal Job Criteria

If you could wave your magic wand, what would your ideal job look like?

Explore what features of these criteria are meaningful or important to you. Test, challenge, and shape your answers.

Make sure the job criteria you’ve come up with line up with your preferences and likes or strengths. 

3. Long Term Goals

Start with the end in mind. Start at retirement and work back 5 years, then 10 years, then 15 years and so on to start laying out an entire career line. What do you want to achieve?

Think about your professional and personal life and especially ways in which these are connected.

At every point, please think about your strengths, motivations, values, job criteria, and goals match.

You may feel that you have a good sense of these before you start or you may feel that these are too removed from the practical job at hand. Either way, go through this exercise and open yourself to these questions:

“What matters to me, now? What will matter to me over time?”

4. Options

Don’t just stick to one option. Create many options for yourself.

Even if your second option is not nearly as attractive as the main option at hand, having a viable alternative is crucial to your success.

A second option allow allows you to gain a greater perspective on the first option, thus seeing it in a better light.

Create Options in parallel.

5. Choices

This is the fun part, choosing from your options.

If you’re done your everything in this program, you will have 2-3 real options to choose from, when the moment comes to make a decision.

Go back to your list of BRAVE preferences, ideal job criteria, and long term goals. Weigh your options against your criteria and evaluating each option’s results. 

Gut Check

Once you make your choice, write it down and go to bed.

If you wake up in the morning feeling good, then you’ve probably made a good decision.

If you wake up in the morning with your gut indicating that you have made a mistake, you misled yourself. Most likely you erred in weighting your ideal job criteria.

It’s ok to have misled yourself, just so long as you have the maturity and mechanism to make yourself aware of it. 

How often should I do this?

At the end of the day you are doing the following:

  1. Understanding yourself and your goals.
  2. Creating options.
  3. Selecting the best option that matches your strengths, values, interests and goals.

Do this periodically. I recommend doing this every 6 months to a year. 

So that's it my friends, please use the downloadable worksheet as part of this post to help you with your career planning.