How to plan your career and make it a success

Written by: Koby Agagah
Published on: 13 Jul 2021

2 people in meeting room


What is a career plan? 

A comprehensive career plan ensures that you are in control of your career and are making calculated decisions. 

A career development plan is an ongoing process that requires an individual to perform a self-evaluation. This is done to create a strong and clearer career path. In order to make a career plan, you must first: 

  • Explore your passions and skills 

  • Map out your career aspirations 

  • Create a process to learn what is required in order to reach each goal 

  • Take control of your future career prospects 


Analysing yourself to find your development areas and strengths is crucial to create an effective career plan. Self-reflection is easy to forget when you are on the same grind day in and day out. When you begin to understand your values, passions, and abilities, you are better suited to create a career development plan that matches your lifestyle and aspirations. 


Through asking questions and shadowing the right people, you can get closer to finding your ideal clearer career path. It is in your best interest to start networking at work, eventsonline/physical forums and career fairs as they allow you to ask questions. Consider volunteering, and/or shadowing and taking extra responsibilties at your job. These steps will allow you to begin your career action plan, enabling you to reach a definitive decision of what you want and what you don't. If you're able to find yourself a mentor, don't let the opportunity pass. 


After you've self-reflected and have a clearer idea of your options, you will be able to identify what career you want. To achieve this, you must set SMART, Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals. Write them down! They will stay in your head. Share them. Share them with a colleague or a friend. Share them with your manager, depending on your workplace; you may receive support in achieving these goals. Sharing your SMART goals will give you a sense of liability. 

Your career plan 

Combine your self-assessment, research, and goals to formulate a plan. Take a look at roles that are the next step up from yours and compare your current skill set to that of the role. Identify your development areas, weaknesses, and gaps in your skills and work out how to bridge the gap. You may be able to achieve this by attending courses

The plan is your career strategy; it's now time to action it. Remember to be proactive. Document everything you plan and tell those around you for motivation and again evoke that sense of liability. Remember to adapt your career plan as things change; your career is not written in stone, and neither is your plan. 

If your employers can assist you in achieving your career progression plan, it will be of significant help. However, this is a process that you can achieve through consistency, high-quality work, and thoughtful career planning. 

Whether you are looking for a new job, changing sectors or at the start of your career journey, the use of a career development plan will give you guidance to a constructive outcome.  

Plan for success. New roles are posted every day on ICAEW Jobs from businesses across the UK from a wide range of industries. Get started with your applications today by uploading your CV and get job alerts when new roles appear.