Career Development Strategies

Courtesy of Amanda Peters, 2017

Your Career Goals – Strategy Setting
Self-reflection/assessment →
Exploration and Experimentation →
Setting goals and planning strategy →
Taking action →
Adapting and Pivoting →
Back to Self-reflection…

Environment (personal, professional, world-wide) impacts your possibilities and decisions;
what are the environmental constraints you are working within?

Your Career Plan
TO DO throughout your search:
a)  Set and re-set strategy on a regular basis; explore options to learn and connect to others
b)  Tailor all communications
c)  Communicate your tailored message: via job search materials, LinkedIn and other social media, at events, networking, interviews. In-person is best, then phone, then on-line (depending on your audience, of course).


First, schedule time (daily or weekly) depending on urgency of search, time available, and how you work best:

  • Plan like the job search is a job; set time for each task
  • How will your search fit into your life?
  • Build in 15-30 minutes once a week to check in on your job search to-dos, priorities, and set a plan for the following week.


List skills you have that you want to use on the job:

What work environment/elements looking for:

What are your interests and what impact do you want to make:

What you want to learn on-the-job:

Consider drafting your own job description- what would you hire yourself for that you’d enjoy doing daily? What’s the overall goal of the position? What are your responsibilities and skills used? Who would you be working with/for? This can help you clarify your goal and your communications, and can lead you more actively to where you want to be.

Where do you want to work? Brainstorm possible….

  • Locations:
  • Employers:

Write down goal(s)

One-three targets (ultimate, transitional, immediate). Format: What impact do you want to make, using what skills and experience, in what type of organization?

  • ____________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________

Which goal are you planning to explore first? What are some small steps you can take to begin your exploration?

What are the skill, expertise and credibility gaps you need to fill to get to your goal? Networking contacts can help you identify these gaps.

How can you fill those gaps? Courses? Volunteer work? Perhaps another job before your ideal? Additional training or project work?

Based on the items above, who can you talk to for Information, Advice and Referrals (IAR) to other organizations and people? What are some related professional associations in your location to get involved in to learn and to meet people in your area of interest?

How will you keep track of the contacts you have made and the information learned? What is your plan to follow up and keep in touch with them?

Plan to complete: 2-5 applications a week (tailored); 2-5 conversations or follow up actions a week.

Accountability. How will you stay accountable? To who?


  • For interviews ( has many interview questions to help!)
  • Appropriate clothes for different elements of your search
  • Support- we all need it!
  • Fun, health: build in time for both!

What obstacles do you anticipate in being able to fulfill this plan? How can you overcome those?



1. Find a job description that is interesting even if you don’t plan to apply.

2. Go over essential functions and qualifications and assess the job description against your skills and qualifications. Be honest.

  • Do I have any perceived gaps in skills sets? If yes, what are those skills? What am I currently doing to gain those skills?
  • Do I have any perceived gaps in years of experience? How many years? How can I fulfill that?
  • Do I have any perceived gaps in level of experience?

3. If interested in a position, research the following:

  • Mission
  • Organizational structure and hiring priorities (based on current job openings)
  • Key stakeholders/decision makers (for this specific role, not the entire organization)
  • Bios of decision makers
  • Roles structure/advancement

4. Role analysis:

  • Reporting structure
  • Top 7-10 responsibilities
  • Anticipated challenges in the job
  • How can I help them solve it?
  • Who is my competition?

5. Making a case:

  • Do I fulfill at least 80% requirements for this position?
  • What unique value proposition do I have in addition to my qualifications? Be specific here. Specialties, sector knowledge, etc.
  • What do I have that my competition doesn’t?
  • How will I address any perceived gaps or deficits in skills and experience? Scenario planning.