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Explore & Set Goals: Create a Career Action Plan

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Create a Career Action Plan

Read Time: 20 minutes
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Schedule an appointment with your career coach by signing into your MyNortheastern Portal.

A Career Action Plan is a road map to help you define and document the steps necessary to achieve your career goals. This is a flexible process that can be started or updated at any time. Reach out to your Career Coach for guidance and advice. Please take advantage of this important resource.


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Ask yourself 3 questions as you develop your Career Action Plan.

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions! They are designed to help you get to know yourself and define your goals. It’s all about you!

1. Where do I want to go and why?

What is your professional goal statement? Be as specific as possible and consider job titles, organizations and career paths of interest. Sample answers to this question might include:  

  • I want to be a Project Manager in the construction industry.
  • I want to use my project management skillset to work for a startup company.
  • I want to transition from teaching to working in a non-profit.
  • I want to find an entry level position in the regulatory affairs field.
  • I want to be promoted to manager from the associate level role at my current organization.
  • I want to take on management responsibilities at my current organization or a new organization.

Not sure? This is the time to reflect on your experience and interests and explore opportunities. It’s essential to have a goal in mind, even though it may change as your journey unfolds.

  • Consider answers to the following questions:
    Why did you choose your program of study?
    I was working in marketing and saw that to advance I needed to freshen my strategic communications skills and gain exposure to digital marketing strategies. So I chose the M.S. in Corporate and Organizational Communication program.
    What experiences have led you here?
    I worked as an administrative assistant and found that what I enjoyed the most about my work was related to project management, but I needed more formal exposure to the tools, concepts, and principles of project management to be successful.
    What did you like about those experiences? What didn’t you like?

    I liked communicating with different people, so I want to pursue a role that has more of that.

    I didn't like crunching numbers and organizing and presenting data, so I want less of that.

    In what areas did you excel? Where did you find room for improvement?

    I am good at organizing processes and moving projects forward.

    I am not as good at managing conflict.

    What kind of work environment do you prefer?
    I like a fast-paced work environment and working as a team.
    What is important to you in your work?

    It is important to me that I work in an organization that is building something that makes the world a better place.

    It is important to me that I work in a position where I earn a high salary.

2. What do I already have that will get me there?

Inventory your skills and strengths relative to your career goals

3. What actions do I need to take to get there?

A. Consider, what are the skills or experiences you will acquire and the action steps you will take to achieve your professional goals? What actions will you take this term? This year?

B. It can be helpful to break these goals into the following categories:

  • Academic goals - knowledge you will learn, develop, or apply based on the courses you take.
  • Experiential learning goals - experiences you want to make sure you have.
  • Career goals - making sure you are developing the professional skills, networks, and brand to be successful in your professional growth and advancement.

C. Build these your goals into action steps using the SMART goal-setting framework.

Example SMART goals might include:

  1. Apply to participate in an XN project for spring term
  2. Get my resume ready. Attend resume workshop on 12/6; make first round of edits by 12/15; have final version ready 1/3

Next Steps!

Access, develop, and edit your Career Action Plan, or use the following instructions:

  1. Log into MyNortheastern
  2. Click on  Services and Links
  3. Scroll to Advising Resources
  4. Click on Academic and Career Portfolio