Take Control of Your Future: A Guide to Action Planning

Conducting a job search can be overwhelming. Luckily, Action Planning is a great way to stay organised and focused during your job search.

What is Action Planning?

The University of Kent’s Careers and Employability Service defines action planning as “a process which will help you to focus your ideas and decide what steps you need to take to achieve particular goals that you may have.” It is a cost-effective way for you to transform your aspirations into actions.

How do I create an Action Plan?

  1. Prioritise your interests. Think about the aspects of a job that are the most important to you, such as the starting salary, the available benefits, length of commute, hours, type of workload, etc.
  2. Set S.M.A.R.T. short term and long term goals. It is important to set goals for yourself. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable and time bound. When developing these goals, think about where you want to be professionally and/or personally in the short and long term.
  3. Develop Action Steps. Action Steps are the specific actions that you will take in order to achieve your goal(s). It is important to make sure that your action steps are realistic and specific. The more clear you are, the easier it will be for you to complete each step. Action steps can include submitting a certain number of job applications each week, attending a career workshop, and/or developing a new skill.
  4. Monitor your progress keeping in mind your target dates. Record everything you do. This will help you stay organised throughout the process. If you’re struggling to stay on top of your Action Plan, try to speak with a career advisor. Remember,  you can always make changes to your Action Plan.

Why should I create an Action Plan?

Job searching is a self-regulated process. Even if you are a motivated individual, you should take time to think about your goals for personal and career development. What type of career do you want to have? Moreover, action planning helps to increase your productivity during your job search.In April of 2018, the World Bank conducted a study to determine the effect of action planning on job search efficiency for unemployed youth in South Africa. Participants attended career counselling workshops and were asked to complete weekly action plans. The study found that participants who made weekly action plans “received 24% more responses from employers and 30% more job offers, and were 26% more likely to be employed at the time of follow- up” in comparison to those did not complete weekly action plans.

If you need some inspiration when formatting your Action Plan, check out these templates from the World Bank, and Jobs.ac.uk.  


Happy planning! Make sure to check out Prowibo’s Career Development page for more articles on how to make the most out of your job search.


Broad, Wendy. “The 5 Minute Career Action Plan.” Headspace National Youth Mental Health Network. Accessed July 10, 2018. https://headspace.org.au/assets/Uploads/Resource-library/Young-people/Work-and-study/Career-planning-tools/ATTACHMENT-6-The-5-minute-career-action-plan.pdf.

-“Career Planning: Career Development Action Plan.” University of California Berkeley Human Resources. Accessed July 13, 2018.  https://hr.berkeley.edu/development/career-development/career-management/planning/action-plan.

-Carranza, Eliana, and Svetlana Pimkina. Overcoming Behavioral Biases in Job Search: The Value of Action Planning.Issue brief. April 2018. Accessed July 14, 2018. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/29745/BRI-GILSouthAfricaActionPlanningStudyBriefv-PUBLIC.pdf?sequence=6&isAllowed=y.

-Coleman, Rachel. “Simple Strategies That Work for Job Seekers.” Governance for Development. June 29, 2018. Accessed July 14, 2018. http://blogs.worldbank.org/jobs/simple-strategies-work-job-seekers.

-“MIT Global Education & Career Development.” Make a Career Plan | MIT Global Education & Career Development. Accessed July 14, 2018. https://gecd.mit.edu/explore-careers/career-first-steps/make-career-plan.


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