Career Planning/Job Search Process

Career Planning Process
Career Options
Career Skills List
Job Seeking Activity Goals
Career Management Bibliography
Top Job Sites

Career Planning Process

The career planning process is a lifelong journey. As with any journey, you first need to know your starting point, then, determine where you might want to go. The plan involves identifying strategies to get there.

Where Am I Now? Self-Assessment

  • Who am I? Your skills, values and interests
  • How Am I Seen By Others? Performance appraisal

Where Do I Want To Be? Research

Finding career options; looking at possible jobs in the marketplace both in print, on the Internet, then using your skills, values and interests to identify a fit between the two.

How Do I Get There? Planning

Strategies for achieving your goals and maximizing success by incorporating techniques such as networking, writing resumes and cover letters to market your skills, talents and accomplishments, developing good interviewing skills, and dressing for success.

Download Self-Knowledge Interview


Understanding Career Options

1. Enrichment (Growing in Place)

  • Expand or change responsibilities of your current job in order to provide growth experiences.
  • Can be achieved by seeking exposure, recognition, autonomy, skill variety, and challenge of the job.
  • Viable option to enhance your abilities and build your skills.
  • An alternative if other options are currently unavailable to you.

2. Lateral (Moving Across)

  • Involves a change in job position, but not necessarily a change in status or pay.
  • Used in “slow growth” companies to keep their good employees challenged.
  • Broadens knowledge or skill base across varying functions. Breadth of experience can be critical to future career success.
  • An option used to seek new experiences and challenges without additional responsibilities and pressures.
  • An option that can provide a change in location, the stimulation of new colleagues, and a transfer into a faster growth area.

3. Vertical (Moving Up)

  • The most traditional option that provides an increase in money, status, and responsibility.
  • Goals usually focused at one or two levels above your current position. (Anything higher is usually too distant for effective action plan development.)
  • Usually achieved as a reward for excellence in the current position and demonstrated ability to meet performance requirements in the higher level position.
  • The most straightforward option if you have a strong desire to achieve, or if you have set your sights on a particular position higher in the organization.

4. Exploratory (Looking Around)

  • The option that answers the questions, “What else can I do?” and “Where else can I go?”
  • Identify other jobs that require your skills, interests, and values.
  • This option can be pursued with the support of your organization and can provide you with an action plan to help you answer your questions about career possibilities. Awareness of your options can give you a sense of control over your career so that you are less likely to feel stuck in your current situation.

5. Realignment (Moving Down)

  • Involves a downward move in the organization’s hierarchy.
  • An effective response to a layoff or dislocation situation. It can provide a way of staying with the company while beginning a new career direction.
  • An option if you wish to move back to a position where you performed competently or were more satisfied (i.e., less stressful).
  • A viable option when you want to make a career change to a totally new area or function. Can provide you with the appropriate training and experience required for later, forward movement.

6. Relocation (Moving Out)

  • This option involves moving out of a particular division or organization.
  • This option can be considered when your job doesn’t match your interests or no longer fits the opportunities available within your organization.
  • This may be your best option if you want to develop your entrepreneurial interests.

Download Career Mobility Options Worksheet

Career Skills List

Ability to use one’s knowledge effectively in doing something; developed or acquired ability” is the dictionary definition of a skill. There are three general categories of skills. Technical skills are those learned on the job, from a book, or a course. Management skills can be learned in a course but are usually learned on the job or by trial and error. Personal traits describe the way you do your job. Technical and managerial skills are written as verb + noun (e.g., analyze financial statements, conduct audit meetings); personal traits are written as adjectives.

Please download Career Skills List, it will help jog your thinking.

Job Seeking Activity Goals

Filling out the Job Seeking Activity Goals sheet will help you plan and achieve your job goals.

Download the list of Job Seeking Activity Goals.

Career Management Bibliography

Surviving a Layoff: Coping with the Emotional, Financial, and Job Hunting Stresses of Losing a Job, by Harry S. Dahlstrom (2000)

Knock ‘Em Dead 2006: The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide, by Martin Yate (2005)

What Color is Your Parachute? 2006: A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career, by Richard Nelson Bolles, Mark Bolles (2005)

Monster Careers: Interviewing, by Jeff Taylor and Doug Hardy

The 250 Job Interview Questions: You’ll Most Likely Be Asked and the Answers that Will Get You Hired! by Peter Veruki

201 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview, by John Kador

Careers in Health Care, by Barbara Swanson (2005)

Career Opportunities in Health Care, by Shelly Field (2002)

Health Care Job Explosion! High Growth Health Care Careers and Job Locator, by Dennis V. Damp and Erin Taylor (2006)

Discover What You’re Best At: A Complete Career System That Lets You Test Yourself to Discover Your Own True Career Abilities, by Linda Gale and Barry Gale (1998)

Career Tests: 25 Revealing Self-Tests to Help You find and Succeed at the Perfect Career (2004)

What to Do with the Rest of Your Life: America’s Top Career Coach Shows You how to Find or Create the Job You’ll Love, by Robin Ryan (2002)

Top Job Sites

America’s Job Bank – opportunities in many companies from a site managed by the U.S. Department of Labor and state agencies.

Career Builder – search geographically, and by selecting other Web sites that this mega-site hunts for you.

Employment911 – pulls postings from other sites, based on your criteria and keywords.

InternshipPrograms.com – searchable database of internships.

Job Source Network – hunt by occupational field, or geographically, and find sources that can help with your search.

Monster – many career-related resources; one of the most popular sites on the Web.

Net-Temps – multi-faceted national job search resource, with 10 search categories.

Goverment Sites

Federal Job Search – post a profile and set up a virtual search agent.

HRS Federal Jobs – A federal job search service complete with subscription e-mail to keep you up to date with the latest job openings.

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