Career planning in its simplest form is leading your own career based on your values and goals as opposed to simply falling into a career or allowing people or circumstances to dictate what career you choose. The definition of planning is “the act or process of making plans for something.” You have to actively engage in building a plan in order to see that plan become successful. Many people will put together their resume, start applying to positions on a job board and simply sit back and wait. However, as the definition suggests, there is “a process” or “action” involved in making sure that you are planning for long term career success. If you do not take the time to plan your career, you may end up taking a job that will have you searching again within a very short period of time.
Here are a few steps to help in assessing your current career situation and put a career plan into place.
- Self assessment - This will take some time and reflection. You want to identify and prioritize your interests, skills, personality, and values and understand the influence your attitudes, feelings, and beliefs can have on making successful career decisions. You will also want to consider the impact of your career choice on your lifestyle preferences.
- Occupational and industry research – Using your self-assessment results as your guide, take time to learn about a variety of occupations and industries including job duties, employment outlooks, salaries, and educational and training requirements associated with each. You will then want to synthesize the information to identify a potential career goal.
- Short term and long-term goals – Once you have determined a career goal, consider setting SMART short term and long term goals to assist in facilitating your career preparation and future success. Goal setting can help keep you focused, strengthen your commitment to your career goal, and help you overcome challenges along the way.
- Getting the job. Once you have established a clear career goal, you will want to put a job search plan, including strategies for the published and unpublished job market, into place. You will want to create appropriate, well developed, visually attractive applications and marketing materials. In addition, you will want to research employers to identify potential opportunities and prepare for interviews.
You may find the MyCareer Plan document helpful in creating your own career plan. Remember that a career plan is not a static plan; it is ever changing and dynamic. Once you have the foundation in place (values, interests, skills, qualifications), you will find that as you learn more about yourself, try out new things and talk to different people, your plan will adjust accordingly. The key is to follow the process and make any necessary course corrections to stay on track for the life that you have identified as satisfying and fulfilling.
For more information about creating a career plan or to request an appointment with a career specialist, please contact us.