What is Career Planning: Definition, Features, Objectives, Benefits & Tips

The significance of strategic career planning has never been more apparent in today’s vibrant professional environment, where options are as diverse as they are numerous. The increase in hiring purpose among Indian organisations and companies, from 35.9% last year to 36% in 2023, has major implications for career planning. This positive change indicates an increasing demand for talent in various areas. 

Career planning has evolved from the old concept of job searching to an extensive and proactive approach that enables individuals to navigate their career path with purpose and vision. This approach entails a systematic series of activities to align personal objectives, talents, and desires with possible professional alternatives.

Understanding how to make a career plan extends beyond employment and income considerations, diving into self-discovery, skill development, and continuous improvement. 

Let us take you through this insightful journey to help you navigate the complexities of career planning!

What is Career Planning in HRM?

What is a career development plan or career planning entails an organised approach designed to assist employees in planning and achieving their professional goals within an organisation. It consists of a series of stages, evaluations, and goals to guide an individual’s career advancement and expand their skill set. 

In Human Resource Management (HRM), career planning refers to the systematic process of assisting individuals in accomplishing their career goals within an organisation. This may include acquiring work experience from external sources or getting enrolled in part-time programs like upGrad’s Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Human Resource Management to gain an in-depth understanding of your field of specialisation. 

Features of Career Planning and Career Development

Here are some characteristics of career planning and development:

Goal Alignment: As part of career planning and development, an individual’s objectives and aspirations must be aligned with the organisation’s goals and needs. This guarantees that the individual’s development aligns with the organisation’s objectives.

Individualised Strategy: These methods acknowledge that each person’s career path is distinct. Career planning develops methods based on a person’s strengths, interests, values, and career goals.

Skill Assessment: Assessment of an individual’s present skills and competencies is an important feature. This assists in identifying areas for improvement and informing the creation of a personalised improvement plan.

Long-term viewpoint: Career development and planning extend beyond immediate work duties. They entail establishing long-term career goals and developing paths to attain them, which may encompass a variety of roles and responsibilities as time passes.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Recognising that career paths might alter owing to changing interests and circumstances, these processes are meant to be fluid and adaptable to accept adjustments in objectives.

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Objectives of Career Planning

The objectives of career planning are as follows:

To foresee upcoming openings

Career planning provides for preparing for upcoming openings caused by events such as retirements, resignations, or even tragic circumstances such as deaths, especially in managerial posts. A proactive career plan is quite useful in avoiding disruptions in managing roles.

To raise awareness

Career planning assists in raising awareness of each employee’s uniqueness. It entails planning employee career trajectories based on their ability and openness to learning and advancement to higher positions.

To boost employee morale and motivation

Career planning boosts employee morale and motivation by carefully aligning talents to job requirements and giving possibilities for advancement.

To promote enterprise expansion and growth

Career planning plays a major role in facilitating organisation expansion and progress. Employees who will be needed to fill employment shortages in the future can be recognised and developed with time.

To leverage managerial talent available at all organisational levels

Organisations can increase employee work satisfaction and productivity by engaging in career planning. This method contributes to more efficient human resource moulding. Furthermore, it ensures that people with skills are exposed to experiences that prepare them to advance to jobs requiring higher responsibilities reflected in their talents. 

Individual and organisational needs must be integrated

Career planning recognises positive attributes in employees that can be used to benefit the firm. It aids in understanding the relationship between character and professional goals and how they might be aligned with the mission and objectives of the company.

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Benefits of Career Planning

The following are some of the benefits of career planning:

  • Goal Clarity: Career planning assists in defining your intended career path.
  • Resource Optimisation: It eliminates wasting time and money on unsuitable career paths.
  • Targeted Skill Development: You can seek education and training specific to your chosen vocation.
  • Increased Confidence: Making an informed career decision increases your self-assurance.
  • Goal-oriented: Career planning focuses on reaching short-term and long-term career goals.

What Are The Steps Involved In Career Planning?

The prospect of planning your whole professional life may appear overwhelming. However, by breaking it down into smaller, simpler phases, you’ll quickly have a clear picture of what your profession could include. 

1. Complete a self-evaluation

The initial and crucial phase in career planning is to understand and appraise yourself. When deciding on a job path, you should gather information about yourself. You must examine your interests, abilities, aptitudes, preferred lifestyle, and personal characteristics and then evaluate the relationship between the chosen profession and yourself. 

2. Prepare career research

Once you’ve determined your interests, skills, and abilities, look into several occupations that might fit you well. 

Begin by looking for a job position that sounds like an ideal match for you and browsing open advertisements. Following that, you can do an in-depth review of each position individually to gain insights into the necessary educational prerequisites, key abilities, required training, and prior experience expected by that specific post. 

3. Do market research

Before making a definitive career decision, it is recommended to conduct market research to determine its current and future viability. Determining the job’s current industry demand and anticipating its need over the next 10 to 20 years is critical.

4. Start skills research

Make a complete list of your desired profession’s educational qualifications and abilities. Look into educational learning institutions that offer the appropriate training. These institutions should give information on available courses, such as online, part-time, and full-time alternatives, as well as course duration, admission requirements, and costs. 

According to Statista, most of India’s active workforce has a secondary education, typically grades 10th to 12th. Surprisingly, people with degrees and advanced qualifications comprise only 12% of the workforce.

It is clear that individuals should evaluate their academic background and the abilities required by the work environment. Knowing the educational and skill-based landscape allows you to carefully plan your professional path and make informed decisions to maximise your chances of success.

For starters, you can enrol in upGrad’s Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management programme to develop a thorough understanding of the product sector and plan a career in this realm.

5. Check your options

Once you’ve gathered relevant information about the occupations you’ve shortlisted, conduct a true assessment of yourself to determine your suitability for each option. Examine whether you can keep a long-term interest in the profession, efficiently manage its day-to-day responsibilities and whether it fits your preferred lifestyle.

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6. Consider interview research

Once you’ve decided on how to make a career plan and how to receive the necessary education and training, you must plan the actions you’ll need to follow to attain the position. Find out what the interview process is like for the job and prepare thoroughly. Examine internet interview videos and note how successful candidates portray themselves. 

7. Work experience options

Research the availability of internships or part-time work in your desired career path. Consider submitting applications and emails if such positions exist. Despite possibly low salaries, these positions provide invaluable learning opportunities and the chance to make substantial career links. 

8. Start your job search

Initiating your job search before completing your education helps you become acquainted with several organisations in your field, ascertain the exact employment requirements they want, and identify the abilities now in high demand. Furthermore, this time allows you to get experience in writing engaging application letters, cover letters, and resumes that will effectively grab the interest of recruiters.

9. Accept a position

When you receive job opportunities from various companies, the self-evaluation list you created previously becomes a useful tool. This comprehensive assessment enables you to make an informed selection that aligns with your preferences and goals.

Tips For Career Planning

Career planning is a vital procedure that entails setting goals, making important choices, and taking steps to build your professional path. Here are some pointers to help you organise your career more effectively:

  • Follow up with industry trends and be ready to adjust your career strategy as needed.
  • Connect with professionals in the sector, forming positive and profitable relations.
  • Analyse the job market and keep an eye out for potential openings.
  • Demonstrate your willingness to relocate if necessary to secure your chosen career.
  • Enrol in continuing education programmes to learn new skills.

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Career planning becomes increasingly important as industries grow, allowing individuals to adapt and attain their intended career objectives. While being unpredictable, this proactive strategy aligns personal beliefs with professional ambitions, producing a meaningful and successful career. 

To get started, check out upGrad’s Executive Post-Graduate Programme in Business Analytics to gain a highly sought-after industry skill: data-driven decision-making, further enhancing your candidature to claim attention from recruiters!


How to make a career plan?

Creating a career plan requires self-evaluation of strengths and goals, researching industries, defining precise objectives, skill development, obtaining experience, continuous education, and regular plan evaluations.

What is a career development plan?

A career development plan is an organised and strategic roadmap that describes an individual's professional goals, desires, and steps to improve and achieve. It involves discovering strengths, defining goals, learning necessary skills, and accumulating experience to achieve desired job outcomes.

How to plan your career?

Planning your career includes evaluating your strengths, creating clear goals, researching professions, and obtaining the required skills. Network with experts, consider furthering your education and obtain relevant experience through internships or part-time jobs.

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