I asked some of my clients this question. Their responses boiled down to the following.

You need a career plan when:

  • You are uncomfortable or have no ideas when discussing your professional development goals
  • You feel sick when you get asked the question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (It might be out of favour now but it can get asked)
  • You see others making progress in their careers and you don’t know how that is happening for them
  • You have given little thought to a career as opposed to a job.

I would also add:

  • You are miserable in your current role?
  • You have a vague idea that you want a next career step but don’t know what that will be?
  • You go round and round in your head with career alternatives?
  • You feel stuck?
  • You feel that you are missing out on the career you should be having?
  • You feel that you are underpaid for your efforts?

We all know people who never plan but seem to have a series of dream jobs offered to them. However, for most of us a thoughtful, directed action plan is the best way to achieve our career goals.