A career plan can help you work out what jobs suit your interests and abilities. Following the plan can then help you find a job that suits you.
Here are five steps to create a simple career plan. If you want to go into more detail, there are resources to help you at the bottom of this page.
1.Work out your goals and values
Your goals and values are what’s important to you as a person.
Your goals describe how you want to live your life. Your values describe how you will act towards other people and the world in general.
Knowing your goals and values helps you find a job that matches your interests and what you want out of life.
Your goals and values might be:
- staying fit and healthy, and helping other people to get fit
- learning about the human body, and helping other people stay well
- making delicious food, and making other people happy
- working with machines, and making other people’s lives easier
- working outdoors, and protecting the environment.
2.Work out your preferences
Your preferences are the things you like to do, as well as the things you prefer not to do.
Your preferences might be some of the following:
- you like to be around people, and you’re not so good at writing
- you like to work alone, and you’re not so good at speaking to others
- you like to work with your hands, and you’re not so good at studying
- you like to be outside, and you’re not so good with computers.
3.Consider the options
Writing down your goals, values and preferences will help you to think about the kinds of jobs that would suit you.
For example, if you prefer to work alone, you’re not going to enjoy a sales job where you have to speak to people all day.
Make a list of all the jobs you can find that match your goals, values and preferences.
Think as broadly as possible at first, and then start to narrow things down.
4.Have a strategy
Now you’ve got a shortlist of jobs or careers you think will suit you, you need to have a strategy for finding the type of job you want.
Write down all the steps you might need to take.
For example, you might need to:
Once you’ve written down all the steps, put them in order. This is your action plan.
5.Review and adjust your plan
Things change over time. For example, the rules and requirements to do a particular course can change.
You’ll also learn new skills, and find out things about yourself you didn’t know before.
Review your career plan every six or 12 months to make sure it’s still relevant.
Adjust your career plan, and keep working towards your goal.
Career planning resources online
Here's a brief overview of some websites with step-by-step guides, tips and tools for planning your career:
- Job Outlook - the Australian government's website that has a career quiz as well as information on individual jobs
- Career pathways – the Victorian Government's careers website presents a five-step process for career planning
- Graduate Careers: Your career and you (PDF, 576kb) – this workbook presents written exercises designed to help you understand your skills and attributes
- Jobs and Skills WA career planning tools – this website from the State Government of Western Australia has some good career planning tools and advice
If you’re having trouble with career planning, you can ask a career counsellor for help. Career counsellors can help you decide what you want to do. They might be able to give you ideas for jobs and training that you hadn’t thought about.
There’s probably a career counsellor at your school, university or TAFE. If you’re not in study or training at the moment, our career counselling page can help you find out how to access a career counsellor.
Career planning support for people with a disability
Disability Employment Australia offers free employment support to people with a disability, including help with career planning. They can help you:
- find out what kind of work is available
- identify the job or career you want
- take steps to get you that job.
If you're still in secondary school you (or your parents or guardians) could also ask your careers teacher about the Strengthened career planning pathways program. This program provides career planning resources for students with disabilities.