The Career Planning Process


The Career Planning Process

Learning Objective

To understand what the career planning process is and that it can facilitate the attainment of educational and career goals


laid-off, job security, career, job


Basic Skills: Listening; Speaking

Thinking: Seeing things in the mind’s eye

Brainstorm the answers to the following questions:

How many times will most people (in the US) change jobs in their lifetime?

  • 25 times

Can workers in the U.S. today get laid-off through no fault of their own?

  • Yes

Is there job security today?

  • Not necessarily, but there are steps you can take that lead to more job security, like continuing to learn new skills.

What do employers look at when deciding to hire new employees?

  • Skills and experience

Because of all these factors, career planning is an important life skill and it helps students identify the education needed to reach their career goals.

To help students understand the difference between a job and a career, brainstorm what they think is meant by both.

Record answers on the board. Summarize the definitions as:

Job = the work position that you have at any point in time

Career = the path of your jobs over time

Point out that the goal is to think about your career and not just the next job. Students can do this by creating a map of where they are going.

Some examples of careers are:

  1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – Surgical Technologist – Nurse

The career path is in the health care field.

  1. Secretary – Administrative Assistant – Manager

This career path could be within many different fields.

  1. Teacher – Social Worker – Consultant

This career path focuses on jobs that use similar skills but in different fields.

Next ask students to brainstorm what they think is meant by career planning. Write these on the board. Then, using students’ ideas, summarize with the following points:

What is career planning?

  • Identifying what you are good at
  • H ow your skills, talents, values, and interests translate into work
  • Matching your skills, etc., to existing jobs
  • Matching your career goal to your financial needs
  • It is a process
  • Need it to make good decisions
  • By doing career planning you can find good answers that meet your needs on your schedule

Career planning is an iterative process and is lifelong.

Depending on the needs and interest of the class, you can further break down the sections of the process and ask students to decide which parts of the career planning process they are most interested in learning about. This can guide you in how best to engage students with the curriculum.

Career Planning Model

Cultural Context: Self-Exploration Process

Cultural Context: Occupational Exploration

Cultural Context: Career Planning Skills

Self-exploration looks at:

  • Skills • Interests
  • Education • Values
  • Experience

Occupational Exploration looks at:

  • Occupational/job profiles
  • Informational interviews
  • Career/job fairs
  • Labor market information

Educational and Career Planning looks at:

  • Decision making
  • Goal setting
  • Problem Solving
  • Action Planning

You can also post the three categories on big sheets of paper and give students index cards with the bullet points and have students put index cards under the correct heading. Leave these big sheets up in the classroom and when the other lessons in the curriculum are presented, refer to them and identify the part of career planning that the lesson addresses.

Extension Activity

For students with previous work experience, ask them to make a list of the jobs they have had and two jobs they would like to have. Then have students pair up and share the lists. Have students talk about any similarities in the jobs they have held and those they would like to have.

For students with limited or no previous work experience, ask them to make a list of at least three jobs they would be interested in having. Pair up students to share the lists. Ask them to talk about any similarities among the jobs they have chosen. Are there any jobs that they might need to have first to gain the experience for those jobs?



Integrating Career Awareness into the ABE & ESOL Classroom | Section II, Lesson 1: The Career Planning Process


Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you too keep learning and growing.

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