Having a career plan is a clear way for you to understand and explore what it is that you want out of your working life. Proper planning will also have an impact on your personal life as you will be clear about the direction you want to go in.
Before you can plan where you want to be, you need to understand where you are NOW, what is important to you and what your dreams or plans may be for the future. Understanding this opens up your mind to make the right decisions for you and your future.
Start by asking yourself;
- What were the triggers for moved you have previously made?
- What influences in your life so far that have impacted your career to date?
- What skills do you have that relate to both your professional and personal life?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaker areas?
- What skills would you like to enhance or adopt?
- What have you achieved professionally to date?
- What commitments do you currently have in your life that require consideration?
Where would you like to see yourself in the future? A common interview question is ‘where will you be in five years?’ Where would you like to be? Don’t be afraid to think big. Listen to yourself and allow yourself to dream.
Do you want to make changes in your professional life? A new job in a new company? A new position in the same company? Are you craving a little of a BIG change? When are you going to make them? If you don’t make any changes, what will the consequences be?
If you feel as though you are currently in a ‘career rut’ there is bound to be something you could do to increase your satisfaction with work. This could be to take on more responsibility, to mentor a junior member of staff from another department or to re-negotiate your role to increase activity. We spend so much of our time at work that we have a responsibility to get the most out of it.
If you feel you need to make changes, then a good place to start is with yourself. Updating your skills or setting new career goals may be just what’s needed. Is there an area in which you would like to be trained in? Sign up for a course even if it’s external to your company. By developing yourself you are increasing the opportunities you will be able to grab later. Is there anyone in your company you can speak to? Someone who may be able to work with you on your development plan?
If you feel that a new job in a new company would better enhance your career satisfaction then it may be time to brush up your CV. How up to date is it? When was the last time you even looked at it? If you have an idea of the kind of job you would like then it’s time to start researching. Being creative about what you want, but you may need to compromise slightly until the right position becomes available. A new position doesn’t necessarily have to mean a promotion, a sideways move could lead you closer to where you want to be. Every step you take will enhance your experience and should be considered as such. Experience counts for a lot but you can’t rely on others seeing this or your potential, you have to make sure you stand out for what you are capable of.
It’s YOUR career plan so don’t let others take responsibility for it. Managing your own career path counts for more than having exactly the right skills for a position, it’s also about managing potential opportunities.