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Career Planning Tools – What's In A Good Tool Kit?

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While it may be entirely possible to just put on some good clothes, walk out the door and stumble into a job that pays well, most successful job seekers have put together a kit of career planning tools that made the task more efficient. The key, of course, is to know which tools to include in that kit.

One of the basic items in each and every bag of career planning tools should be an organized, complete resume. But there should always be more than one copy in the kit. In fact, most job counselors urge having more copies of the resume available than you think you will need. Don't be caught without a resume, in a situation that could open doors to a new career. As part of the resume tool, plan to submit your resume by electronic means (email, Web site). Many experts in the career-planning field note that a few employers discourage paper resumes.

A key part of every resume, usually found near the top of the first page, is the statement of objective. This key item helps the job seeker focus on personal goals as well as the needs of the company applied to. With a little twist, the statement of objective can be one of the career planning tools that may open some doors. In this case, the idea is to create a mission statement, a set of directions for the trip.

This key item in the collection of career planning tools can help the young job seeker commit to a course and stick to it. In addition, a well-written career mission statement can be just the item necessary to help an experienced person make the career change needed. Some people may be able to pursue a career by simply stating, "I know what I want to do." However, a concise mission statement may just provide the focus necessary to keep the job seeker on track.

Over the past few decades, a number of companies and universities have developed programs that can help the job seeker narrow choices and find the correct path toward career success. It may be wise to include a planning guide or career test in the collection of career planning tools. For example, some universities provide such guides to students as well as to members of the public (usually for a fee). These guides can include questions that will help the job seeker focus on a career path, as well as descriptions of various careers. These well-developed programs can assist the job seeker in both expanding and narrowing career choices, as well as help the applicant understand where those choices may lead.

These are just a handful of the many excellent career-planning tools available. As one counselor advises, don't go out there alone!



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