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When Was Your Last Career Planning Session

Career planning is not an activity that should be done once and then left behind as you move forward in your jobs and careers. Instead, career planning is an activity that is best done on a regular basis. You may already know that the average worker will change careers many times over his or her lifetime. That is why, it is never too soon or too late to start your own career planning. Career planning is not a tedious activity, not something to be dreaded or put off.

It should be an activity that should be liberating and fulfilling. There should be goals to achieve in your current career or plans for beginning a transition to a new career. As a whole, career planning should be a rewarding and positive experience. Here, then, are some tips to help you achieve successful career planning.

1. Make career planning an annual event. Many of us have myriad of other things on an annual basis, so why not career planning? Find a day or weekend once a year and schedule a retreat for yourself. Try to block out all distractions so that you have the time to truly focus on your career -- what you really want out of your career, out of your life.

By making career planning an annual event, you will feel more secure in your career choice and direction. You will be better prepared for the many uncertainties and difficulties that lie ahead in all of our jobs and career. 2.

Map your path since last career planning One of your first activities whenever you take on career planning is spending time mapping out your job and career path since the last time you did any sort of career planning. While you should not dwell on your past, taking the time to review and reflect on the path will help you plan for the future. Once you have mapped your past, take the time to reflect on your course. Note why it looks the way it does. Are you happy with your path? Could you have done things better? What might you have done differently? What can you do differently in the future? 3.

Reflect on your likes and dislikes, needs and wants Change is one factor of life. Everybody changes, as do our likes and dislikes. Something we loved doing two years ago may now give us displeasure.

So always take time to reflect on the things in your life that you feel most strongly about. Make a two-column list of your major likes and dislikes. Then use this list to examine your current job and career path. If your job and career still fall mostly in the like column, then you know you are still on the right path; however, if your job activities fall mostly in the dislike column, now is the time to begin examining new jobs and new careers. Finally, take the time to really think about what it is you want or need from your work, from your career. Are you looking to make a difference in the world? To be famous? To become financially independent? To effect change? Take the time to understand the motives that drive your sense of success and happiness.

After all this has been done, you will see that the time given on your career planning is a time well spent.

S. Stammberger is the owner of Job Interview Helper. A website where you can find useful tools, news, tips and recommended career sites.

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