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Planning a Career – Step by Step: Your Way to Success

Usually we associate a career with climbing the social ladder step by step. This though does not apply to anyone. Additionally it is becoming more and more difficult to plan career paths in times of technological change. Ruptures and job-related changes are increasing.

A Career

The common conception of making a career is becoming a member of the upper management. But it is also possible to make a career and to specialise in a certain field and finally become an expert. As a project manager it is possible to combine specialist and leadership abilities. This though is only one model of a career. The ‘Portfolio-Work’, in contrary, is a more recent type of career. In this case a person acquires different kinds of competences and works for different companies. By doing this the line between freelance and employment becomes redundant. For this reason career development is very important and not restricted solely to senior executives.

Becoming Active

Career planning is worthwhile, even though ruptures and reorientations are becoming more and more common. Concentrating on your assets and goals helps you to make decisions and makes you aware of different options and opportunities which are available to you. You should not only get active when you are forced to do so but should analyse your situation and check your goals regularly.

Analysing your current Situation

Our options are on the one hand restricted by our personal qualifications on the other hand by our environment. An analysis of your current situation should help you gain a clear picture of your skills and your possibilities for advancement. Start by analysing your strengths and your weaknesses. By doing this, make a list of all your professional competences which are relevant to your position. Then add supporting documents to prove them. Continue by analysing your interests and tendencies in order to find out which direction you would like to take in future. Although changes in our working environment can have much influence on our options, we are not always able to change the situation. Changes can influence both the company as well as our private life and can create new exigencies. Technological, economical, political and social trends can have a similar effect.


You can discover options for action by contrasting your competences (strengths and weaknesses) with your environment (possibilities and dangers). This will give you four different options: 

  • strengths/possibilities:  using your strengths in order to profit from your possibilities
  • weaknesses/possibilities:  conquering your weaknesses in order to profit from your possibilities
  • strengths/dangers:  profiting from your strengths in order to avoid dangers
  • weaknesses/dangers:  limiting your weaknesses in order to avoid dangers

This list shows how versatile your options for action can be. Probably you will not be able to employ all the strategies at the same time, as in some cases the alternatives exclude each other. This list serves as a portfolio from which you must choose your priorities. Having a look at your possibilities for action once in a while helps you to stay in touch with your career plans.


The realisation of your chosen strategy needs to be concretised. You need to formulate aims and to define subdivided measures and processes for action in order to be able to reach your goals. Professional behaviour will also help you on. This implies showing self confidence and communicating openly. Believe in yourself and in your talents. Missing technical skills can be acquired through advanced training. It might be possible for you to, for instance, improve your knowledge of foreign languages during an assignment abroad. Talk to people you trust and/or your recruitment consultant. Make contacts which help you on. Networking is a decisive factor for business success.


Regardless if you are opting for a career in leadership, a career as an expert or are looking for a safe workplace or want to pursue a valuable idea, or want to commit yourself for a valuable cause, or if you are pursuing your necessity for working independently and autonomous, or are setting up your own business, or are looking for a better balance between work and your other activities or if you are simply looking for a new challenge, you will be successful if you fulfill the aims you have formulated.