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Career planning

Author: ICAEW

Published: 18 Nov 2019

Have you ever thought about where your job is taking you?

Developing a career plan will ensure you take active control of your career rather than making passive decisions about your development with no clear career direction. Enjoying your work and the environment you work in is essential if you are to have a fulfilling career ahead.

Many people are daunted by the thought of putting together a career plan, but breaking down the process into the following four steps will help you get started.

  • Self assessment
    Put together a personal inventory of who you are and what makes you tick as a person. Analyse your interests, personality characteristics, values, skills and drivers (what motivates you).

    Look at your current job role – does it compromise or fit with your qualities? Can you adapt it to make it fit better with what is important to you? Are there other options out there that are a better fit?
  • Exploration and research
    Get out there and start asking questions. The more people you speak to and the more questions you ask, the more information you’ll get and the closer you’ll get to finding a clear direction.

    Try friends, colleagues, former colleagues, blogs, forums and careers fairs. If you find out about a role or an area of work that interests you, then research in more detail.

    You could also consider job shadowing, part time work, internships or volunteer opportunities to help you reach a decision.
  • Decision making
    Bring together your self assessment analysis and your research on career options to produce a list of career-related goals.

    Look at the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Compare your skills and experience to that of the roles and careers you are considering. Identify the gaps and work out how to close them.
  • Action
    You now have your career strategy so it’s time to take action. Be proactive with your career plan and ensure you keep motivated and follow through with what you’ve decided to do.

    Remember, a career plan is never set in stone. It is a living document for you to check and adapt as you progress through your career.

Useful ICAEW career planning resources 

Career events

Meet employers, get advice on making an impact at interviews and network with other members.  We run an extensive events programme ranging from career fairs to soft skills seminars.


A mentor can help you identify your current position along with your skills and drivers and translate these into strategy and direction.

Soft skills and development

Today’s finance professionals are expected to be great at everything, not just accountancy.

We are committed to helping you to develop further skills throughout your career.

  • Our programme of careers events covers topics such as communicating with impact, presenting with confidence and networking.
  • The ICAEW Library & Information Service provides access to a wide range of resources on topics such as communication and presentation skills, leadership and managing people, networking and negotiation skills to support members in developing their careers and fulfilling their potential - View the Library's career and personal development resources.

Career support from CABA

CABA offers advice and support to members and their families on a range of matters. Their dedicated careers microsite offers resources including career coaching, support through all stages of your career, training courses, webinars and case studies.

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