Creating an Action Plan



The steps you need to take to make it happen!


* DECISIONS!! Once you’ve made the connection between your strengths, skills and interests and what the opportunities are, you need to start making decisions and taking action!

* CREATE AN ACTION PLAN – A good Action Plan will help you get where you want to be. Think about short / medium / long term goals.

* THINK STRATEGICALLY – Decide what action you need to take to achieve these goals, prioritise these actions, think about who can help etc.

When working out your Action Plan try using SMART.

S – SPECIFIC – be focused and stay on task

M – MEASURABLE – how will you know you’ve achieved it?

A – ACTION-ORIENTED – what specific actions do you need to take?

R – REALISTIC – taking everything into account, are your plans achievable?

T – TIME BOUND – by when do you want to complete this goal?


Most employers and universities now expect you to have gained employability skills through work experience as well as qualifications and this could make all the difference to any applications you make.  Building a portfolio of relevant skills & qualities is key to improving your future career prospects –  as already mentioned, you need a variety of experiences to build this up. Don’t wait for opportunities to fall into your lap – get out there & ask! BVSC – B’ham Voluntary Service, family & friends working in a career area you’re interested in, speculative approaches to employers / charities etc.  See also the section on Developing Employability Skills.


It’s a good idea to have other options worked out just in case things don’t go to plan. This is especially important if you’re aiming for a highly competitive career such as medicine, law or a career in the performing arts.


Do more than just study – be active! Societies, sports clubs, volunteering, become a student rep or ambassador – all these activities show you are motivated and able to mix with a broad range of people.


You need to build in a regular review of how your career planning is going as this will ensure that you stay on track and that you’re making good use of your time. It’s likely that over time your plans and ideas will change and evolve, you might want to change direction or try something new. It’s important to be flexible and keep an open mind.


* What’s working well?

* What could I do differently?

* Do I need to make any changes to my plans?

* Do I need to ask for some help?


You need to regularly review and update your skills – what skills are employers looking for? Do you have the skills required by your chosen career? Are you communicating these skills effectively in your applications / personal statement / CV? Do you need further training / experience to gain these skills? Do you need to amend your Action Plan?


If you are applying for jobs / apprenticeships make sure you reflect and learn from the process. For example, if you send off a CV and don’t get an interview, how can you improve your CV for future success? If you attend an interview but don’t get the job, make sure you ask for feedback. Above all, use the feedback in a positive way & ask for help / advice if you feel you need it.


If you feel you need help with putting your plan into action it might be a good time to ask for support from your careers adviser, parents or other family, teachers etc.

Feedback from these sources is a great way to help you reflect on what is working well & where you might need to make changes.

Make sure that you talk to someone who can help you with a specific problem eg: if you’re worried about exam grades speak to the relevant teacher, if you need careers advice speak to a careers adviser – whether you’re totally confused or just want to check that you’re on the right track then you can see me.

To get a careers interview you can ask your form tutor who will put your name forward, drop in to see me during break or lunchtime on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays or email me at

REMEMBER! Choosing your future career is not something to be rushed. You need to invest time & effort in finding a career that’s right for you at this stage of your life.

However, these days fewer people stay in the same job or type of work all their life so be aware that you could have a number of different careers over your lifetime. Bear this in mind when researching your ideas & research related careers at the same time.

Above all, don’t settle – you are likely to spend many years at work – find something that you love doing!

Some of this content was taken & adapted from the career planning pages on the Birmingham University websites’ career section.