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Who are you?

To begin, discover who you are now. Take a fresh look at your current interests, identify the skills you have developed and those you would like to acquire, clarify what you want out of life and understand how your personality preferences impact the type of work and environment you are likely to enjoy and thrive in.

Where are you going?

The title of one book on career planning warns readers: If You Don't Know Where You're Going, You'll End Up Somewhere Else! It's not necessary to know the exact title of the next position that will help advance your career, or the name and location of the specific unit you want to work in. You will benefit greatly, however, by spending some time thinking about the type of work that appeals to you, the work environment in which you are most productive, and what departments or sectors of the University are engaged in solving problems of interest to you.

Learn more about how the University is organized which can help you better identify positions that are aligned with your work interests and career goals.

How will you get there?

What shape and direction will your career path take? It is important that you know what career success means to you, what it looks like and how you want it to happen. In today's work environment 'up is not the only way' to achieve career satisfaction. Your career trajectory may not look like your parents', friends' or co-workers'.

In an article in the September 2002 edition of HR Magazine, Robert Llewellyn identifies four career concepts. Try them on and see which fits for you:

Linear/Career Ladder

  • Success is defined as moving up the organizational ladder
  • Motivated by power and achievement


  • Success is defined as being known as the best/most knowledgeable among peers
  • Motivated by security and expertise


  • Success is defined as being able to move from one position to a related, but often broader, position
  • Motivated by growth and creativity


  • Success is defined as being able to change jobs often
  • Motivated by variety and independence

Take Inventory!

Ultimately, your career is your responsibility. As the CEO of YOU, Inc., it is good business practice to "take inventory" from time to time. Use this "Career Development Questionnaire"* to develop a snapshot of things "as they are" now and "as you would like them to be." Discuss your answers with a trusted co-worker or manager.

Current Job

  1. What do you like most about your current job?
  2. What would you like to do more of?
  3. What do you like least about your current job?
  4. What would you like to do less of?
  5. What are the primary skills your current job requires? What is your current skill level in these areas?

Professional Development Goals

  1. Two or three years from now, where would you like to be professionally?
  2. What would you need to achieve to accomplish this?
  3. What new responsibilities or challenges could you take on to move you towards your goal?

Untapped or Under-Utilized Abilities

  1. What added task(s) or projects could you offer to do that would make a greater contribution to your department and showcase your initiative?
  2. Is there a new task or role that you could take on to make better use of your talents?
  3. What is not "required" of you in your job that you could do and would like to do?
  4. What challenges or opportunities would you like to have that would help you grow?

Job Satisfaction

  1. What would help you obtain more satisfaction from your work?
  2. What changes could you make in your performance that would satisfy you more?

New Skills and Capabilities

  1. What new tasks, roles, skills, abilities, etc. would you like to acquire or improve?
  2. What IT or Professional Development training, education, certifications or licenses would you like to obtain?

* Adapted from U-Plan: University of Washington Workforce and Career Development Planning Guide