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How To Devise An Effective Career Plan For Students?

by Paul Steven

    Time will come that students will need to progress one step towards their future. It will start in choosing a career for themselves that proves to be quite complicated. It is a standard line of thought for highschool graduates nowadays. They must devise an assured career plan for choosing a course to take in before studying at university. It is one of a massive step in their lives since they will finally set the road map for their life journey. Most of the time, students tend to be confused, overwhelmed, and cautious when choosing careers, which are considered normal reactions

     Many factors might affect their decisions, and examining them is a vital part of the right career choice. It may be a mind-boggling task since we are aware of being careful in choosing the best suitable career for us. However, it is typical for such difficulties to always start at the beginning of each endeavor. First, before we proceed to the career plan, let us determine the factors that might influence you already in your career choices. Doing so can help us to overview things that may hold you back and reconsider your thoughts.

Factors Which Affects Our Career Choices:

1. The Influence of our Friends     

    Are you the type that becomes anxious once you are away from your friends? If so, then maybe you are resorting to your career decision based on what your friends have picked.

     According to Becker-Phelps (2016), a psychologist, there are ways possible for your friend to shape your future. Friends are capable of influencing each other’s personal preferences and lifestyles. It may also affect how you make a career choice. They may be able to convince you to consider a career different from what you have planned. Agreeing with your friends points out how you favor your sense of belongingness that will be gone once you decide to separate from them. 

    It might be a hindrance or an opportunity since you can strive together to accomplish things. Struggling with your friends on your side proves to be morally encouraging. It will give you the feeling that you can do everything. Perhaps the “power of friendship” is necessary for the students who prefer to seek their friends’ solace. However, it might be a kind of distraction that will turn you away from an open opportunity.

2. The Preferences of your Parents

    Do you have an assertive parent? Or perhaps, the ones who are always there to guide you attentively? As the people who have raised us, they are the primary factor why students consider a specific career.

     Based on my past research about career choices, most students tend to obey their parents’ recommendation of what career to follow in the future. They influence the level of education their child needs to achieve, the knowledge and pieces of advice to keep in mind, strong motivation to do challenges and attitudes towards other people. It is not a surprise that a child is developed by his parents to adapt to a particular profession of their liking. With strong support and focus, they can infuse their desire for their children to pursue. It is a frequent case on the families who value their profession as being passed down into new generations to carry on the legacy. 

     Parents who are hands-on with support to ensure their children’s welfare and happiness might significantly affect their children’s development and their career choice. Research also implies that a child raised with love and support will grow as an individual who is confident with his skills. As a result, he will explore possibilities and find a more exciting career. Such parenting is vital because studies prove that adolescents who feel competent regarding career decision-making tend to make more satisfying career choices later in life. (Keller 2004).

     However, too much high expectations might cause adversarial effects for the children. It can confuse the child, especially when two opposing ideas clash in his mind: his dream and the ones that his parents have been pushing on him. As a result, answers become a little blurry as well as the goal in life. It may affect his attitude towards challenges. Therefore, he will feel lost and vulnerable to problems. Following your parents is essential, but so is granting your chance to do something you enjoy.

3. Media Influences

    Technology is all over the place nowadays. We often spend our time surfing the net to finish our assignments. We also use it as entertainment such as watching Youtube videos, playing videogames, or messaging one another. It is a dominant element, considering we spend our time in media and other digital platforms than our family and friends. 

   There have been multiple existing studies about the correlation of career choices affected by the student’s direct relationship with their family and friends. Still, there has been a lacking of certainty of how multimedia and other digital technology affect career decisions and to what degree.

    Fortunately, researchers from multiple universities did a thorough focus on the subject; one of them is Anne Hoag, from Pennsylvania State University. Along with her co-researchers, they sought to determine the effects of media, information technology, and salient referents (people who influence students) on the choice of major. The relationship between mediated referents and selection of journalism was significant than the other communication majors in their study. They concluded that people who follow media personalities and professionals have something to do with the influence. 

    It shows how prolonged exposure in media these days ascertain student’s preferences to align with the trends and media figures. It may be because they are fascinated, and thinking of doing the same role will be enjoyable, or it strongly supports their existing resolve. 

4. Financial Capabilities 

    Insufficient financial status has been the overlying problem for the students to limit their careers far from what they have desired. It is different from the influences like how you get from mediated and relationship elements. It has a clear solution yet hard to solve in action. The parents commonly shoulder this issue, but sometimes the financial conflict remains stagnant. It may inflict negativity on the child’s perspective to lower his standards. Fortunately, there have been many programs out there that address such unfortunate circumstances, like scholarships and other opportunities provided by the universities. Thus, even you, a young student, can shoulder problems through hard work. 


    Are you influenced already by one of the mentions above? If you are, then are you sure that the career you chose is right for you? You may have been favoring your friends, pleasing the request of your parents, imitating your idols, or limiting your goal, but do you ask yourself what career you want and CAN do with all your potential? 

   Considering a career by sheer external influence is an incomplete portrayal of a good career plan. Perhaps enlightening the definition of “career” might widen your horizons. According to Phifer, P (2003), a career can also be defined as the sum of total decisions that direct your educational, social, economic, political, and spiritual endeavors and reflect your unique personality characteristics and fundamental life values. 

    Now that you see its importance, let’s be careful but, at the same time, use an optimistic approach to find a career suited for you. Try to consider these steps, according to Sta. Maria (2000) that may help you with planning. Let’s get started!

Steps To Create A Career Plan

Self Assessment

    The answer sometimes lies within us. To achieve one’s goal, one must reflect first in oneself. It also works wonders in finding a career, so that’s why students are lost because they are not yet fully aware of their capabilities as a person. “What can I do?” or “What am I good at?” with those questions, external influences will not affect your decisions quickly. Identifying such will also allow you to know what to develop further.


     Do you have an interest in fashion design? Then why not pursue careers related to one. Perhaps you’re the type who likes experimenting in the kitchen to produce such exquisite cuisine? Go for culinary!  

    Career is a lifetime endeavor, so spending it with stressful days because you simply don’t like it is a no-go. It should match your interest or passion for you to feel fulfillment each day. People always strive for better when they are positive about what they are doing. They tend to expand their current knowledge and aim for the higher career-related goals that will lead to success. Research has demonstrated that congruence between interests and work environments affects some important workplace outcomes, such as job performance and turnover (Van Iddekinge, Putka, & Campbell, 2011; Van Iddekinge, Roth, Putka, & Lanivich, 2011)


      It includes your abilities and other aptitudes that had developed through formal education and fundamental practices. Skills are either technical or soft skills. Technical skills include how you put into application the knowledge and theories you have learned. They are commonly bound to mathematical and scientific tasks. However, soft skills include proficiencies that are more personal and can help you to do technical skills more effectively. These are the skills that can stand you out with your co-workers, like excellent communication, problem-solving, outstanding leadership, and organization. By identifying those skills, you can confirm the right careers for you. If you are aware of your aptitudes, you can optimize them for your further improvement. 


     Are you aware of how you acted on past circumstances in your life, like in group activities and coping with stress while working with many projects? Well, it’s time to ask your buddies of how do you behave and treat situations. Perhaps you can somehow reflect honestly with yourself and tell your attitude with a straight face. 

     Attitude means how you view certain things in life and how to respond to it. It is the tendency of how someone behaves in an environment and interacts with other people. The employers these days are not linear by considering only the educational background of their employees; they also observe their employees’ attitude if it will suit the occupation. The Mayo Clinic suggests that positive thinking and a right attitude help your psychological well being and help you cope better under stressful situations at work. Are you competent enough that you have complemented by your associates about how long your patience is? Then, attending to a challenging yet rewarding career is suited for you. Beware that asynchronous relations of your attitude and your career might take a toll on you later on. Hence, you will not be able to endure both the working environment and schedule. 

Personality Type

     Personality traits are qualities of yourself that make you unique than the others. It is relevant in finding a specific favorable career since a fitting personality in a workplace proves to promote a functional expression of oneself. Expressing your attitude, interest, and skills will flow like a river once exposed in a comfortable working environment. According to psychologist John Holland, personalities may be classified into six types: realistic, investigate, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional.

Are you a realistic type?

     Are you independent and practical? Then maybe you are a realistic type. They are good with mechanical work and enjoy using their hands and eyes to accomplish things. They are very physical, and their athletic abilities are their strong suit in doing their job. Jobs suited with these type of people are:

  • Auto Mechanic
  • Computer Technician
  • Architect
  • Medical Technician
  • News photographer
  • Restaurant owner
  • Tailor, seamstress
Are you the investigative type?

     Do you enjoy mathematical or scientific activities? Then, maybe you are one of the people who are intellectual and analytical. Investigative types are dominant in using their minds and preferred to contribute with knowledge in the distance. They spend time reading books as their hobby. They are a unique and insightful bunch. Jobs suited for an investigative type are:

  • Art historian
  • Anthropologist
  • Professional engineer
  • Translator
  • Archaeologist
  • Astronomer
  • Botanist
Are you the artistic type?

     Are you an imaginative one? Then, maybe you are an artistic type. These are the type of people who runs their imagination wild and able to create alternative forms of art. They use their hands along with their mind to create unique works. They appreciate aesthetics and tend to like unstructured situations for work. The jobs tied to these type of people are:

  • Copywriter
  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Desktop publisher
  • Art critic
  • Art Teacher
  • Fine Artist
 Are you the social type?

    Have you been a leader in your group activities ever since? Then, you are a social type. They are skilled in communicating with words and show competence in handling people. They enjoy interacting with others for the sake of the development of both parties. Jobs suitable for the likes of them are:

  • Arts teacher secondary school
  • Architecture teacher
  • Art academy teacher
  • Recreation program worker
  • TV presenter
  • Museum employee
  • Museum guide
  • Psychologist
  • Counselor
Are you the enterprising type?

    Are you a risk-taker? Do you have the right confidence to propose an idea in class? Then, maybe you are the enterprising type. They are people who like to negotiate with people and who can manage organizational goals into fruition. Jobs fitting for such individuals are:

  • Editor in chief
  • Gallerist
  • Leading advertising agency
  • Antiquarian
  • Chef cook
  • Producer
  • Sales Engineer 
  • Flight Attendant
Are you the conventional type?

     Are you comfortable working full of data and numbers? Can you follow instructions, and at the same time can finish it on the due date? Yes, maybe you are a conventional type. They are quick with their hands, eyes, and mind to carry out tasks assigned to them. Times may be hectic, but they stay organized and neat. Jobs for them are:

  • Appraiser of antiques and art objects
  • Desk editor
  • Web editor
  • Proofreader, translator
  • Accountant
  • Auditor

     Did you get to know yourself better? Did something spark an idea within you that a career is doable and enjoying at your part, or does your existing goal matches your abilities required? After assessing oneself and gained confidence in many professions, the confusing part now sets itself on the table. Assuming a wide variety of occupations are available now into your preferences, let us move to the next step.

Explore and Find your Ideal Career

     It is time to narrow down the list by knowing more about the vast choices you got there through job analysis. It is a method to identify which jobs are closer to your ideal career. Job analysis may help you to eliminate the less favorable and leave the ones more suited for your personality trait, interest, and skills. You may need to search for references like books or magazines or visit relevant websites. 

Choose Your Best Answer

    The list becomes more transparent, yes, but it is not quite finished. You may now actively compare the remaining jobs on factors like availability of the job, how profitable it is, what kind of lifestyle it provides you, and how it is aligned with your life priorities. Once you do that, there should be a single victor. At this point, you have a clear view of your suitable career that fits your description and principles. Congratulations!

 Implementation of your Career Goals 

     If there’s a plan, there’s an action to be done. For it to succeed, you need to implement it into motion. Also, strengthen your goal by infusing it with your purpose to achieve such a career in life. By doing so, your firm resolve will help you never to get lost in your journey. Most importantly, don’t forget that you cannot have something if you never work hard to get. Planning a career is just the beginning. Good luck!

Planning and choosing a career is creating a precise map. Pursuing a career is a journey. Living within it is the destination.

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