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How to Create Your Career Blueprint or Vision

These are the three written exercises I use to help my clients gain focus and create a vision or blueprint for their careers. The exercises work for everyone, from the laborer on the dock to the CEO. They work for General Counsel, Physicians, Medical Directors, and senior executives in every function and industry. They work in the non-profit sector and for college-age students. I have never met a person yet who didn't benefit immensely from these simply self-discovery exercises.

Yet they take time and effort to complete. And that's where we get ourselves into a bind. We feel that career planning should be quick, so we can get on with real life. And we tend to career-plan in a crisis, just after we've lost a job.

Bookstores today carry hundreds of books to help one focus and choose a career path. But, many of the exercises result in more confusion, rather than less. They help you learn little pieces about what you like, want, and value--they just have trouble assembling the individual pieces into a clear picture: a blueprint or vision.

The exercises, which do create a clear blueprint or vision, are designed to build on each other, so complete them in exactly this order. Resist the urge to jump to the final exercise too soon. Doing so can only frustrate and annoy you, like teaching a pig to whistle.

  1. Likes and Dislikes
  2. Career Blueprint
  3. Ideal First Month

To use an analogy: If we were making dinner, exercises one and two help us get the hamburger, green peppers, onions and bread crumbs out on the table. In exercise three we get our hands dirty and mix the ingredients together into a meatloaf. There's no use trying to make the meatloaf without having the best ingredients in place.

Although these articles belong together, and build on one another, they were written for publication separately, and out of order. So you will no doubt find some repetition. Certain phrases may seem out of sync. I'll fix that in the future, but in the meantime, I want you to have access to the articles. They're fantastic. They're great. They work!

That being said, let's tackle Likes and Dislikes

William S. Frank, M.A., is founder and President of CareerLab. Since 1978, he has devoted more than 20,000 hours as a career, outplacement, and human resources consultant to employees, managers, senior executives, and boards of directors of more than 200 major U.S. corporations. He wrote 200 Letters For Job Hunters, published by Ten Speed Press, and he created the RED HOT Cover Letter collection in the Career Center at America Online, which is visited by more than 1,000,000 visitors per month.For more information about CareerLab, visit
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