New Template: Plan Your Next Career Move

It’s time to welcome Template #21 to the Life After College collection! I developed the Plan Your Next Career Move template after working with several coaching clients to figure out what’s next in their career.

Many come to me with no clue about what’s next — it’s as if a thick fog is covering everything and they can’t see the path ahead. Exercises like the ones below have helped many clients lift the fog and inch closer and closer toward clarity.

Side note: I’m featured on’s Be Known blog this week on a closely related topic — Bridging the Skills Gap in Today’s Economy: Part 1 and Part 2

A note on 1:1 coaching

If you’re curious about coaching, I’ve noticed that since I quit Google people tend to come to me for help with one of three primary things:

  • Career or major life change (quitting, moving, finding a new “soul-stirring” career path)
  • Building momentum around a blog, and
  • Building a successful solopreneur-based business

If you’re wanting to make massive progress in any of these areas, check out my coaching page and fill out an application if my program seems like a fit. I only work with a handful of people for a three-month commitment at time, and if price is your primary deciding factor I’m probably not the coach for you (though I’d be thrilled to give you recommendations for other awesome coaches).

Working with a small number of people helps ensure that I can give them my full time, attention, and access to my network. I currently have a waitlist, but will be taking on new clients again in June if it sounds like just what you need!

Enter the Plan Your Next Career Move template!

This template will help you start to lift the fog on your career — it breaks down various categories within a job or career (location, company size, type of work, etc), and provides space for you to brainstorm a list of must-haves (oxygen), nice-to-haves (chocolate), and can’t stands (mine: fish, black licorice) for each area. Think of it like an “ideal mate” exercise, but for a job — arguably an even bigger commitment given how much time we spend at work!

Note: this template is mostly focused on people looking for employment rather than striking out on their own. To think through starting your own business, you might prefer the Decision-Making Template instead. 

Here’s an excerpt of the additional exercises in the template (also a sneak peek at the type of homework I assign to coaching clients):

  • Make a list of “guilty pleasure” or alternative careers that you’d pursue if time and money were not an issue. Once you have your list, write a paragraph for each — what is enticing about each one? Identify common themes that cut across all — this will become your “career values” compass.
  • Target impact & audience: Do you have a sweet spot of who you feel called to work with? Who do you want to help? List three companies that support that audience, and even brainstorm types of people who you really think could benefit from your work. For example: Google – the world (organizing info), Kiva – entrepreneurs in the third world, Pandora – music lovers.
  • How do you define creativity? What’s your ideal way to be creative on the job? Outside of work?
  • Review the table above. Look back over the table and see if anything is missing or needs to be explained further. Consider this the sifting tool to use as you consider/look for jobs.
  • Make a list of 25 people doing jobs you admire. What aspects of the jobs seem appealing to you? Choose 10 to reach out to via email; optional to ask about setting up a call or meeting.

Bonus resource: You might also really enjoy Sarah Peck’s handy One Page Career Cheat Sheet, particularly if you are debating whether your current job is a fit or not.

Business Aside: I recently checked my template stats and was BLOWN AWAY.

Check out the following usage stats!

For access to all 20 templates and the full Organized Like a Ninja Toolkit, sign-up for my monthly(ish) Inside Scoop Newsletter. If you hate it, you can unsubscribe — but most people seem to find the peek behind the curtain interesting :). You can also review the archives to see if it’s for you — I know how precious inbox real estate is these days!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison Elissa Horner April 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I love your ‘guilty pleasure’ or alternative careers idea! 

Frequently people mentally dismiss the careers they actually want to do. Then they feel in a fog because nothing else looks as good as what they actually wanted.  Reconnecting to those initial ideas and considering why they would be a good fit can be a great starting place for a career change.


jennyblake April 14, 2012 at 7:56 am

Thanks for your comment, Alison! Sometimes its as simple as allowing ourselves to dream FIRST, then narrowing it down way later, once we’ve had a chance to re-surface all of our deepest interests and exciting possibilities. Have a great weekend!


Veronica Holtz April 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Um, I love this. I needed it so badly and I didn’t even know it! That’s when you know you’re doing something right, Miss Blake. Love. Love. Love!


jennyblake April 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

Thanks so much Veronica!! Thrilled that this template is just what you need right now 😀


Lydia April 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

Methinks Jenny Blake is fabulous.


jennyblake April 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

Aww, thanks Lydia :)


Nicole Amanda May 1, 2012 at 3:33 am

I really wish I could view these templates. :(


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