Planning your career is not an activity that should be done once -in secondary school or university- and then left as you embark on your career. Rather, it’s an activity that is best done on a regular basis. According to a recent survey, an average worker is expected to shift careers multiple times in a lifetime, so it’s never too late to start planning your career. A successful career usually begins with careful career planning. It is your responsibility to give it the seriousness it deserves. A career plan helps you chronicle both your long and short-term career goals and allows you measure success, career moves, training and choices to make in the bid to attain your planned-out career footprint. This will ultimately steer you on a path with measurable goals. Here I’ll share some tips to aid your career planning.
Carrying out an evaluation of yourself, interests, and your skills is important to knowing what you first or next career step should be. If you’re on the lookout for a new career, the field you’re most interested should be the deciding factor. If you’re looking to advance yourself in your chosen, your present skillset and how you can improve on that should be the most important thing to you. From these, you can then begin to set career goals for yourself. The goals you set for yourself have to be of the right mix of realism and ambition, do not set goals that you are sure you cannot reach but at the same time remember to push yourself out of your comfort zone. A major component of career planning is setting short-term (in the coming year) and long-term (beyond a year) career and job goals. Once you initiate this process, another component of career planning becomes reviewing and adjusting those goals as your career plans progress or change — and developing new goals once you accomplish your previous goals.
Career Plan Research
After identifying the career path that captures your interest, you need to dedicate time to research your career plan. Research jobs related to your career path and plan. You should also look beyond your current job for transferrable skills, some workers get so wrapped up in their job titles that they don’t see any other career possibilities for themselves. Every job requires a certain set of skills, and it’s much better to categorize yourself in terms of these skill sets than be so myopic as to focus just on job titles.
Do not forget to review current job and career trends, having information about career trends is vital to long-term career planning success. Besides knowledge of these trends, the other advantage of conducting this research is the power it gives you to adjust and strengthen your position, your unique selling proposition. A key aspect to job and career success is having a unique set of accomplishments, skills and education that make you better than all others in your career.
Execute, Review and Repeat
It is supremely important that you remain consistent in planning and executing your career plans. You should review them, repeat what works and get rid of things that don’t yield results. When planning, ensure your goals are SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Planning your career with the techniques above will help you clarify career ideas and focus your effort, time and resources on driving your career forward.