Essential Career-Planning Elements

A career can be thought of as a progression of jobs and related experiences that are focused toward growth within an occupation or industry.

Whether you are looking for a job, investigating industry career possibilities, or wanting to develop yourself professionally, there are at least four skills you must have to be successful to find or develop your career:

  1. Knowing yourself – what are your skills, knowledge levels, values, needs, personality, and goals?
  2. Understanding the job – which abilities, skills, knowledge, and attitudes are needed to perform the job well?
  3. Determining fit – how does this particular job or assignment and its requirements fit with your abilities, skills, and preferences?
  4. Identifying the need for and location of appropriate resources – which resources will you need to move forward with your career discovery, development, and job finding?

Whatever your approach to career discovery or development, strategically selecting the right jobs and assignments along the way can further your career, allowing you to grow and to achieve your goals more easily.

Savvy seekers use a combination of methods to select the right job, such as gaining accurate self-knowledge, creating compelling goals, and crafting plans for achieving those goals.

Your Personal Benchmarks

Each of the jobs profiled on this website has been described using nine career comparison points. The same nine points also appear in My Career Profile, which is a savable PDF file that contains a series of prompts and checklists organized around those nine points.

To receive more insight and planning prompts and lists, please download My Career Profile. This is also a valuable tool for creating your resume.

Recognizing that an in-depth profile with lots of valuable prompts may not be needed by all site visitors, we have provided a summary below of the nine points and a brief explanation of each.

  1. Personality – individual differences in patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving that that can either help or hinder one’s effectiveness at work, depending the requirements of the type of work performed.

    Personality assessments allow you to discover how similar your behavior preferences are to others who perform the same type of work. Assessments can be particularly helpful if you are new to the industry and you are trying to decide if you would enjoy a particular job and have not had a chance to see the job actually being performed or know people in that line of work.

    The following short assessment (less than 10 minutes to complete) is free and has been used to analyze each of the jobs in the Job Profile section. The assessment yields a description of six distinct personality types/traits – Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

    Take the assessment here: (and note your top type/traits)

    • What were your actual scores for each type? If you are going to fill out a MyCareer Plan, please transfer these numbers to your plan.
    • What do your assessment scores indicate about what you most enjoy doing?
  2. Skills – physical, mental or emotional abilities that are learned and improved to meet or exceed a certain standard through deliberate practice.

    1. Which skills are your strongest?
    2. Which skills have you been recognized for, either at home, school, or work?
    3. Which of your skills do you most enjoy using?
    4. Which skills and performance levels are exhibited by the best in your business?
  3. Values – beliefs about what is desirable or undesirable at work, important or unimportant, needed or not needed, good or bad.

    1. Which of your values is most important for you to experience in the workplace in order for you to really enjoy your work?
    2. Which of your values are a little more negotiable – nice to have, but not essentials?
  4. Compensation – the money you earn in exchange for your time, labor, or services.

    1. How much money would you like to earn?
    2. In what manner would you prefer to be compensated? (salary, commistion, etc.)
    3. How much do you need to earn in order to pay your bills, save, and invest?
    4. How much of your income will likely come from bonuses?
    5. What are the types and the value of the benefits available?
  5. Travel and Relocation Opportunities – the present and future travel and relocation opportunities for a particular job.

    1. Are you willing to travel for work?
    2. How often would you like to travel?
    3. For how long?
    4. To where would you love to travel?
    5. Would you be willing to relocate?
  6. Education and Experience – the formal and informal learning that one has completed and the knowledge that is required for a particular job.

    1. Does your perspective or present employer encourage and/or fund continuing education?
    2. Have you gone to college? If so, which degrees do you hold?
    3. Do you have any professional certifications, designations or licenses?
    4. What kinds of educational requirements does your ideal job have?
    5. Have you had some interesting on-the-job or volunteer learning experiences that might be beneficial in your present or future work?
  7. Client and Team Members – the recipient of your services. The customer/client may be inside the business (a co-worker, for example) or outside of the business.

    1. Who are your clients?
  8. Workplace Environment and Culture – the physical and psychological environment of the workplace.

    1. Where will you perform your work?
    2. What kind of workflow would you prefer? (fast or slow, steady, or sporadic, urgent or methodical)
    3. How many hours are you willing to work each week and for how long? (time of day, amount of hours, days per week)
    4. Would you like to work for a new or an established business?
    5. Do you prefer a casual or a formal workplace?
    6. Do you like to work in teams or individually?
    7. Would you like a culture that encouraged internal competition?
  9. Career Path – where you want to end up with your career and the steps to get you there.

    1. What is your ultimate career goal(s)?
    2. Do you want to be an individual contributor and not manage other people?
    3. Do you want to manage others?
    4. Do you want to run an organization?
    5. Do you want to own the business?
    6. What career step comes right before your ultimate career goal? And before that? Continue until you arrive at where you are now.

Putting it All Together

If you have half an hour to devote to your career planning, the planning elements in My Career Plan could help you to uncover what you truly want out of your job/career. My Career Plan is a savable PDF file that contains a series of prompts and inventories to get you thinking about what matters most to you for a rewarding career. You can save the file after you have filled it in and use it to evaluate potential positions using the nine career comparison points in the plan.

After you complete the insight exercises with the nine points, you will have a section devoted to the specific actions you intend to take to move your career forward. (Download My Career Profile)

Some Resources for Transitioning Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families

If you are a veteran or are transitioning from the military to civilian life (or are family), we would like to thank you for your service and offer you a few resources that may help you to find and develop a rewarding new career in the insurance and risk management industry.

  • Careers For Life is a veteran-centered National Alliance insurance education program that is offered through the Florida State University catalog. Students may be eligible for VA benefits and other forms of military tuition assistance.
  • Disabled Veterans Insurance Careers (DVIC) — offers training, licensing, and employment to highly skilled, tech-savvy heroes and heroines who are matured beyond their years. They create meaningful and gratifying employment opportunities for the men and women who have risked everything for our nation.
  • My Next Move for Veterans features a search engine that can find careers that are like your military job. This allows you to expand your job search to different industries.