One of your first activities whenever you take on career planning is spending time mapping out your job and career path since the last time you did any sort of career planning. While you should not live on your past, taking the time to review and reflect on the path — whether straight and narrow or one filled with any curves and dead-ends — will help you plan for the future.
Once you’ve mapped your past, take the time to reflect on your course — and note why it looks the way it does. Are you happy with your path? Could you have done things better? What might you have done differently? What can you do differently in the future?
Change is a factor of life; everybody changes, as do our likes and dislikes. Something we loved doing two years ago may now give us displeasure. So always take time to reflect on the things in your life — not just in your job — that you feel most strongly about.
Make a two-column list of your major likes and dislikes. Then use this list to examine your current job and career path. If your job and career still fall mostly in the like column, then you know you are still on the right path; however, if your job activities fall mostly in the dislike column, now is the time to begin examining new jobs and new careers.
Finally, take the time to really think about what it is you want or need from your work, from your career. Are you looking to make a difference in the world? To be famous? To become financially independent? To effect change? Take the time to understand the motives that drive your sense of success and happiness.
Most people don’t keep a very good record of work accomplishments and then struggle with creating a powerful resume when it’s time to search for a new job. Making note of your past accomplishments — keeping a record of them — is not only useful for building your resume, it’s also useful for career planning.
Sometimes reviewing your past accomplishments will reveal forgotten successes, one or more which may trigger researching and planning a career shift so that you can be in a job that allows you to accomplish the types of things that make you most happy and proud.
Everyone makes his or her own job and career opportunities, so that even if your career is shrinking, if you have excellent skills and know how to market yourself, you should be able to find a new job. However, having information about career trends is vital to long-term career planning success.
A career path that is expanding today could easily shrink tomorrow — or next year. It’s important to see where job growth is expected, especially in the career fields that most interest you. 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. One of the keys 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.
Develop a roadmap for your job and career success. Can you be successful in your career without setting goals? Of course. Can you be even more successful through goal-setting? Most research says yes.
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.
It’s somewhat of a cliche, but information really does lead to power and success. Never pass up chances to learn and grow more as a person and as a worker; part of career planning is going beyond passive acceptance of training opportunities to finding new ones that will help enhance or further your career.
Take the time to contemplate what types of educational experiences will help you achieve your career goals. Look within your company, your professional association, your local universities and community colleges, as well as online distance learning programs, to find potential career-enhancing opportunities — and then find a way achieve them.
One of the really fun outcomes of career planning is picturing yourself in the future. Where will you be in a year? In five years? A key component to developing multiple scenarios of that future is researching career paths.
Of course, if you’re in what you consider a dead-end job, this activity becomes even more essential to you, but all job-seekers should take the time to research various career paths — and then develop scenarios for seeing one or more of these visions become reality. Look within your current employer and current career field, but again, as with all aspects of career planning, do not be afraid to look beyond to other possible careers.
MBA is an internationally Certified Assessor specializing in career development. She is in private practice where she works with individuals, and performs organizational consulting and workshops for corporations. Mrs. Abul Nasr is a certified T.O.T trainer. She especially enjoys working with clients on all levels to find empowerment within themselves and work with their “natural positives.” Her expertise includes career guidance, soft skills, strategic management, sales and marketing facilitator, workplace and personality testing. Mrs. Abul Nasr owns more than 25 years of experience; Retail FMCG, Telecom, Consulting, Training and People development