Tools for planning your career

Tools for planning your career

If you're looking to plan out your career, then there are some basic areas you need to investigate in order to support you in fleshing out your plan.

This post looks at some of the main areas that help you deliver your career plan to get the role of your dreams.


When it comes to planning your career, for most people, salary is an important factor. If we can, we want to be able to pay our bills, support our family, and have a little leftover to have some fun with.

Product management is one of the most coveted career paths and Glassdoor has called it one of the top 10 best jobs in America, due to the fact that the work is meaningful, well paid, and offers considerable opportunities for career progression.

According to salary sites like Glassdoor and Payscale, typical salaries among product managers can range anywhere from $63,000 to over $200,000, with variations coming about due to seniority, specific experience, location, education, and industry.


Run some searches on Glassdoor across your chosen role, industry, and location to get an idea of what to expect. You can also check out the Aha salary report where they describe variations in salary across different locations and industries


If you have a specific company in mind for your career plan, then your task will be to understand everything there is to know about the organization, from the types of role they have, their criteria for hiring, and their approach to getting new employees.

Do they run an annual intake? Can you subscribe to get notifications of new job opportunities?

Do they use in-house recruiters or are they using recruitment consultants? Are they attending career fairs, or running hackathons to attract new recruits?


Follow your chosen organizations on LinkedIn, and check the careers page of their website to see if you can subscribe to updates. Not to sound too stalker-like, but follow them on social media and subscribe to their corporate newsletters. Anything to get you more in tune with the way they operate and close to any opportunity they might announce.


One area worth some research before you head off toward your dream job is the industry in which you work. You don’t want to be putting in the effort to achieve your goal, only to find out when you reach it that the industry is about to be overtaken by something that will make it obsolete, and where employee numbers are dwindling.

Where you might be advised to look is at growing job markets, where there are now more positions than it has in the past. It may be easier to get a job or earn promotions in growing job markets because of the increase in opportunity.


As with organizations, you can use services such as LinkedIn to monitor industry-specific groups, or you could find industry-specific newsletters and publications to subscribe to.


What are the primary skills and experience that you need in the job of your dreams? Do you need specific qualifications, certifications, or industry experience?

How do these skills vary across different levels of seniority? What does a senior need when compared to a junior? How about a vice-president? What are they bringing to the table that the senior isn’t?


List out all the specific skills and experience that you’d need to demonstrate in your dream job, and then tick off those that you already have. Now you’ve got a list of things to try and train yourself in before your dream can become a reality.


Understanding where you are yourself is key to understanding how you need to get to where you’re going.

Perhaps the most widely used personality assessment is the Myers-Briggs test, which seeks to identify your personality type and align this with one of their 16 distinctive personality types. There are of course other personality tests out there, whose aim is the same, which is giving you insight into the type of person you are, and therefore what might be the ideal career for you. (see this post from CNBC about the top roles for each Myers-Briggs categorization)


Undertake a personality test and determine which traits you have, and then compare this to the traits in your possible dream job to see if the two match.

Setting goals

When it comes to managing your career plan, it’s important to set yourself goals so that you can measure progress and understand whether your plan is coming to fruition.

To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

By doing this you’ll know what you need to achieve and by when, and see individual steps towards your dream career.


Develop some S.M.A.R.T. Goals, and review these at regular intervals.