According to the Career Gateway, having a Career Management plan means you are in charge of your career and you think about what is important to you. You start to take the necessary steps to make your career goals happen and look for ways to improve your job skills.
There was a time when a career management plan wasn't required as people used to stay in one job for a lifetime so there was no real need for job search skills. Today, however, people change jobs more often and there is very little job security. The job market is more competitive and employees are often competing with people from all over the world for jobs that were once local.
According to jobseekersguide.org, employees now tend to change jobs every few years, layoffs are more common and part-time positions are more common. Also, the incentive to stay in one job no longer exists with the elimination of the traditional company pension. Workers are now in charge of their own retirement plans and take them with them when they leave their jobs. On their website, jobseekersguide.org outlines the following benefits of having a Career Management Plan:
A career is a lifelong journey that lasts your whole working life and is often called a career path. A job is different from a career in that a job is a specific position for which you get paid. A job may be nothing more than going to work to earn a paycheck with no career goals in mind. With a career you advance in pay or responsibility with each job you get. When you work you gain skills, knowledge and experience. Your career also includes education, training, work experience and community involvement.
Before you start planning your career, you will need to understand a little bit about career clusters and career paths.
Career clusters, also known as occupational groups, are group of careers that share common skills. A good way to get familiar with the concept of Career Clusters is to browse the Occupational Handbook at BLS.gov. The Occupational Handbook is a guide to career information about hundreds of occupations. Each occupation is broken up into clusters of similar occupations. For example, Office and Administrative Support Occupations include all office related positions such as general office clerks, secretaries, administrative assistants, accounting clerks and many others.
Most people start out in a lower-lever job in a career path and, with more education and experience, move up within that career path. For example, in the Office and Administrative Support occupations, an employee may start out as a Receptionist, move up to an Administrative Assistant and finally get promoted to Office Manager.
As part of your skills assessment, you will determine what occupations you are best suited for, the occupations entry requirements, education, training, pay and any certification/licensing requirements. Understanding your chosen occupations requirements and working hard towards achieving those requirements is part of your career planning and career path.
A good place to begin with your Career Management Plan is to determine where you are in the career planning cycle. If you are just starting your job search, you are probably in the Skills Assessment phase. Taking a skills assessment will allow you to learn more about yourself and find a job that matches your skills, interests and values. The next section will walk you through the steps of taking a skills assessment and exploring careers and career paths.