Helping Members Develop a Career Plan

At Employment Services (formerly LDS Jobs), we'll help you become gainfully employed through education and networking with local companies.

Under the direction of the bishop, priesthood and Relief Society leaders should help each member in need develop a plan for temporary and long-term self-reliance.

Discuss the member’s employment options and plan with the ward council in an effort to help resolve his or her specific needs. The council should first look to resources that exist within the ward to address the need.

Employment needs may reveal themselves in many different ways. A member who feels he or she is not making enough money may need help in developing a spending plan rather than help in finding new employment. Or, perhaps the member has financially overextended him or herself. By selling unnecessary assets, reducing expenses, or canceling unnecessary services, a member might be better able to live within his or her means.

Likewise, members who are truly looking for new employment opportunities may also need assistance in discovering additional training, writing a résumé, preparing for an interview, or in identifying potential job leads and networking contacts.

Steps to Develop a Career Plan for Long-Term Self-Reliance

Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family.

When developing a plan for long-term self-reliance, an official form is not required; however, the Needs and Resources Analysis form (item no. 32290) may be used. Several meetings will generally be required to fully complete a plan.

When visiting the member in need, establish a comfortable rapport with him or her. Among other areas of self-reliance, be sure to discuss the following four career elements: 

1. Career Objective with a Desired Income

The first step is to help the member identify the career he or she would like to pursue. This career choice should be one that is practical and one that will meet the member’s financial needs. The objective should be set by the member and based on his or her interests and abilities.

To help the member identify his or her career goal, consider the following questions:

  • What are the member’s natural skills and abilities?
  • How has the member’s work history utilized these skills and abilities in the past?
  • If training, education, and experience didn’t matter, what would the member like to do for a living?

If the member cannot identify a career objective, a specialist might be called upon to assist before his or her plan is further developed, or the member could be referred to the nearest employment resource center or self-reliance center for additional assistance.

Help the member determine the income level that will be required to meet the family’s financial obligations. This may require the development of a spending plan if one is not currently in place. A specialist might be assigned to provide additional assistance with this step. 

Assess whether the member’s desired career choice will meet his or her financial obligations:

Does the member have a current spending plan?

  • How much additional income would be required for the member to live within the current spending plan?
  • Is the member’s desired career one that is in demand or decline?
  • Does the career choice typically produce the income required by the member’s spending plan?

A specialist can help the member develop a spending plan or answer any of the above questions. If further assistance is required, the member could be referred to LDS Employment Resource Services or a Self-Reliance Center. 

2. Needs

The next step is to identify how to achieve the established career objective and how to overcome any possible obstacles.

Assist the member in identifying:

  • Specific steps required in order to reach his or her desired career objective.
  • Circumstances that have been, or might become, obstacles in meeting the member’s established career objective, such as a lack of child care or transportation.
  • Other obstacles that might unexpectedly arise.

Several meetings will likely be required to determine all needs, and additional needs will typically be discovered as the planning process continues.

Consider the following questions to help determine the member’s immediate and long-term needs:

  • Will additional training or education be required in order to reach the career objective?
  • How long will it take to obtain the required training?
  • How has the member typically found employment in the past?
  • Who does the member know in his or her desired career field?
  • Does the member feel comfortable in discussing his or her career objective with others?
  • Does the member have a current résumé? How effective is the résumé in obtaining interviews?

Members will benefit from attending the Career Workshop, gaining additional training or education, and identifying networking or job leads.

As appropriate, each of these needs should be included as assignments on the member’s plan. 

3. Resources

A resource is something or someone that can be used to support or help a member in reaching his or her career objective or other long-term self-reliance needs.

Often, individuals in need have difficulty seeing beyond their challenging situation and may not recognize resources they currently possess that might help them reach short- or long-term objectives. Priesthood and Relief Society leaders can be helpful in identifying these resources.

Help the member take personal ownership by asking questions rather than telling him or her what to do. Address the member’s needs one by one by asking questions such as:

  • Who do you know that might be able to help you with this specific need?
  • Are you aware of any community organizations that help people with similar needs?
  • How do others with similar challenges resolve them?
  • How would overcoming this challenge help you reach your career goal? 

Provide direction and contacts to help the member satisfy his or her employment and self-reliance needs. These resources can come from within ward or stake boundaries. They may also come from Church welfare operations or other community resources.

Leaders can also identify specific members to assist individuals in need by conducting an annual survey.

The ward or stake employment specialist can be a great resource in collecting and compiling ward and stake information. 

4. Assignments

Assignments will likely be required before the member can accomplish his or her goal. The member, bishop, priesthood and Relief Society leaders, mentors, and specialists will likely each be required to take specific actions.

With each action step, identify:

  • What action needs to take place?
  • Who can assist the member in fulfilling the assignment?
  • When is each assignment to be completed?
  • When should completed assignments be reported?

Personal ownership is crucial in developing self-reliance. Whenever possible, the member should be responsible to take each assignment and report any progress to his or her priesthood or Relief Society leader.

Ideally, the member should meet with the bishop prior to working on his or her plan. The ward welfare committee should regularly review each member’s plan, discuss his or her progress, and continue to help him or her overcome any additional obstacles that arise.  

Additional Training Materials on

Helping Candidates: Planning


Was this helpful?