A career plan helps you determine your skills and interests, what career best suits your talents, and what skills and training you need for your chosen career. By developing a career plan, you can focus on what you want to do and how to get there.
Long term vision: The key to successful planning is having a long term vision. Having a clear idea of where you want to get to is the best start. What is your long term goal? It might be anything from; changing career, where you eventually want to be on the career ladder, or simply securing a role.
Short term goals: To keep yourself motivated you need to work out some milestones. They might be skills based, salary based or responsibility based. Achieving these milestones or short term goals will help you to stay motivated.
Commit to the process: It’s important throughout this process that you have the right attitude. You must be focused, motivated and willing to make that commitment to achieve your goals.
Identify what motivates you, your preferred environments and roles
In deciding where you want to be, make sure it's somewhere that will hold your interest long-term, and suit your preferred life style. Some questions to consider are:
You need to consider your interests and values not just in a working environment but also from a personal perspective. Utilising tools such as psychometric tests will help with this. They can quite often suggest environments your personality is best suited to, or types of organisations your values would fit best with.
There are a number of methods you can use to identify your skills. You can use things such as your CV, past job descriptions, psychometric assessments and colleagues and friends to help you. It's important you focus on the skills you enjoyed using as the things we're good at are often the things we enjoy most.
Write down the specific tasks you enjoyed and excelled at in your previous roles (remember to not just focus on your most recent role). Also think about any specific achievements from your most recent role, past roles and outside of the working environment.
In relation to these specific tasks and achievements, you then need to go on to think about and write down the skills that you used in conducting these tasks and achievements. Are there any of these skills you particularly enjoyed using or demonstrating?
Write down all the results of your assessments and questions above. Recording it in black and white in a logical format will clarify your understanding of where you are.
Once you've identified what motivates you the next step is to ensure your skills and competencies match your chosen career path. You will need to fully identify and understand what competencies are required in order for you to move onto the next level and succeed at that level. For example does your ultimate role need analytical reasoning, commercial awareness or does it rely more on strong communication skills and leadership qualities. Some of these you'll be stronger at, but others you may not be so now's the time to start focussing on improving in these areas. The more you begin to recognise where your strengths lie and where you need to improve, the more attainable your career path will become.
Start off by researching basic information on each career path such as job descriptions, employment statistics, job outlook, earnings, educational and training requirements. You need to remember that market conditions will always impact on how quickly and to what extent you can achieve your plan.
Once you have a little bit of information - you will quickly identify the areas that aren’t going to work.
If there are any skills/qualifications you are lacking - there are a number of ways you can develop these:
You can also utilise your network to assist you with this. Specific people in your network will be able to give you inside information on a specific career. Use your friends and family, past and present work colleagues, managers and social media networking sites such as LinkedIn. You can talk to people through networking sites or even set up informal interviews and meetings with your contacts to find out more.
Some of them may even be willing to let you shadow them for the day to see what it's really like. Remember that part of achieving your objectives and long term plans will come from understanding your employer’s expectations of you. If you want to get ahead it helps to have the support of your manager. Talk to them about your aspirations and plans so they can give you a fair assessment on what you need to do in order to achieve them.
Continuously scan your environment for development opportunities. Keep your end goal in mind as it makes it easier to spot exciting opportunities that come your way both inside and outside of your organisation. This will help you ensure that you don't feel trapped and keep you positive and focused.
It's also important to know how mobile you need to be in order to achieve your goal.e.g.
SMART Short and long term goals
As soon as the vision you have for yourself is clear, set yourself short and long term goals to help you get there. Use the short term goals to help you break your plan down into manageable chunks.
Your Goals should be SMART:
Ensure that you include obstacles in your plan, and how you intend to overcome them. e.g. Finding childcare so you can obtain your higher education qualification.
Remember there's more than one route to get where you're going. Make sure that the goals you set and the milestones you noted at the beginning are'nt forgotten. Keep them to hand and refer to them frequently. No performance review, appraisal or career conversation should go by without direct reference to your career plan. This way you will take advantage of the development opportunities that come along.
© Renovo Employment Group Ltd
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