Three Tips for Making Better Action Plans

Julie Shenkman
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An action plan helps you organize your objective and career goals. An effective action plan also includes the steps you need to take to reach your goals. Action plans are great resources for advancing your career, but they are also helpful during a job search. Use the following three tips to advance your action plan from good to great.

List Your Goals and Strategies

When crafting your action plan, always be detailed about listing your goals and the steps you need to take to reach your goals. For example, consider the requirements of the career you are interested in. Research the specialized skills and industry experience you will need. Once you know exactly what is required to begin a specific career, you can assess which skills you already possess and which skills you need to develop. Use your new knowledge to outline your strategies and to choose your next steps, such as working in an entry level position to gain experience. A detailed action plan keeps you from overlooking an important step in your progress toward your career goals.

Add a Time Line to Your Action Plan

It is also important to add a time line to your action plan. If you write an action plan without one, you are more likely to get off track. Establish defined goals and set a time limit for achieving each goal. For example, establish how long you plan to work in your current position before advancing to the next opportunity. Outline the steps you plan to take to get promoted in your time line. Also, share your short-term goals with friends and family members so you remain accountable for reaching your goals. Just remember to remain realistic in your time line to avoid becoming frustrated with your progress.

Prepare to Confront Obstacles and Frustration

Your action plan must also include a section on the obstacles you expect to face in your career. If you prepare for obstacles before they happen, you are more able to handle them when they do occur. Include plans to deal with setbacks such as losing your job or being passed over for a promotion. If you already have a plan in place to deal with these events, you will recover from them faster.

Your action plan also needs to include ideas on how to deal with losing motivation. Reaching your career objectives can involve years of hard work, so It is only natural to feel overwhelmed at some point. Plan to create a support system you can turn to when you face obstacles and disappointments.

Taking the time to plan out your career goals is one of the best ways to ensure your career keeps moving forward. The more effort and thought you put into an effective action plan, the better your chances are of achieving your goals.

(Photo courtesy of pakorn /


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