Where do I start?

What is a career and how do you plan for one?

What is a career?

A career is not just a job. It's the skills and experiences you learn over a lifetime from family life, friendships, culture, community activities, leisure choice, work and learning.

Your career may change over your lifetime. Our career planning steps will help whether you're planning or changing your career.

The SODA model of career planning

We arrange our career planning information based on the SODA model – a popular four-step model used for understanding the career decision-making process.

The four steps are:

S – Self-awareness: Where you become aware of your interests, skills, values and abilities. You work out what lifestyle you want and your career goals.

O – Option-awareness: Where you explore different career options and compare them.

D – Deciding: Where you choose the best career option based on what you know about yourself and your career exploration.

A – Acting and planning: Where you create a plan and take action.

On each page we tell you the next step to planning your career.

Follow these steps and you should make a career decision that is right for you.

What is your stage of career planning?

Choosing a career for the first time or wanting to change your career?

Use our Career Checker tool to find suggestions based on your stage of career planning.

Plan your career in four steps - video


Here's four main steps to plan your career – 0.42 mins.

Plan your career in four steps.

1. Know your skills, interests, values and talents.

2. Explore your options.

3. Make a decision.

4. Take action.

Get career ideas. Visit careers.govt.nz


Next step

Your next career planning step is to discover your skills, values, interests and abilities.

Updated 5 Jun 2019