A FREQUENTLY asked question about career management is: "What is successful career planning?"

My response in a single sentence is: "Successful career planning is not an activity but a lifelong process."

You need to review your career plans regularly. In today's context, many people will change their jobs and careers several times in their lifetime. So the sooner you start planning the better.

The process should be liberating and fulfilling, providing goals to achieve in your current career or plans for making the transition to a new career.

Career planning can be a rewarding and positive experience, especially if you have recently lost your job. It will help you to recover and re-invent yourself.

In tough times like the present, you may want to make reviewing your career a quarterly activity.

Settle on a day or weekend and block out all distractions and appointments so that you truly focus on your career.

Spend time thinking about what you really want out of your career and life.

By doing this, you will feel more assured in your career choice and the direction you are taking.

You will be better prepared for the uncertainties and difficulties that lie ahead because career planning forces you to take stock of where you are in your career and to identify alternative ways of earning a living.

Thinking about where you want to go also helps you to identify how to get there, what you should be doing to grow your career and how you can boost your employment security.

Your needs and wants

Change is a fact of life. Your wants, needs and desires change at different stages of your life.

So take the time to reflect on the things in your life, not just in your job, that you feel most strongly about.

Think also about what motivates you and what your definition of success and happiness is.

Deciding on what you want at a particular stage in your life enables you to set the goals to get there.

Past accomplishments

Most people do not keep a very good record of work accomplishments and then struggle with creating a powerful resum� when it is time to search for a new job.

Writing down your past accomplishments and keeping a record of them is not only useful for building your resum�, it also enables you to talk confidently at interviews about the transferable skills and competencies you have.

Sometimes, reviewing your past accomplishments will reveal other forgotten successes, which may trigger ideas about work opportunities that you may have wanted to explore but never took the time to pursue.

Do not wait too long between career planning sessions.

Career planning can have multiple benefits - from goal setting and career change to a more successful life. It helps you to write better resum�s and perform better at interviews.

Once you begin reviewing and planning your career regularly, you will find yourself better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career and your life.