Career planning plays a very important role in one's life. It helps us to manage the direction we want our career to take, the job skills and knowledge we will need, and how we can get them. A great career strategy relies on strong foundations and the following simple steps may help us to build a strong career foundation:
Step 1 Self-assessment:
We all have been brought up by different values, needs and motivations. Our work takes up a significant part of our day - usually a third or more - and has a significant impact on other aspects of our life, including our sense of self-worth and wellbeing. This is why it is very important to carefully consider your values and needs when planning your career direction and developing your career strategy. Find the best in you and plan accordingly. Use these exercises to help you establish your life values:
* Where am I right now?
* My Career/life planning timeline.
* what are my short- and long-term goals?
* What are my skills, knowledge and personal qualities?
* What I expect from my job?
*What are the barriers in career planning?
These exercises will help you decide your career path.
It is important to understand your skills, knowledge and personal qualities so you can match them to jobs you would like to do. This will also help you identify the knowledge and skills you might need to acquire, or the personal qualities you might need, to achieve your career goals. An accurate and realistic assessment of these things is vital to an achievable career strategy.
Similarly despite working hard on your career strategy, you might sometimes come up against obstacles, here you need to The 'Examining the barriers using force field analysis' exercise will help you to explore those obstacles.
Step 2 Consider the options:
Often, the most difficult part of career strategy and planning is finding out what jobs are likely to suit your best. The good news is your choice might be wider than you had realized. It's important to consider each of the options against your skills, knowledge, personal qualities, values and preferences.
Step 3 Decide on your goals:
Now it is time to take decisions. Carefully start working on the information you has gathered and the path you have decided. If you are yet to decide on your career goals, or you want to revise them, start by considering your career goals for the next two years. And then next 5 or 10 years. This kind of thinking helps break down big picture career strategy and planning into manageable pieces.
The SMARTER system can be useful for planning your career goals:
Specific: be as clear as you can and avoid ambiguous statements.
Measurable: so you can see what you have achieved.
Achievable: provides motivation, but also keep your goals reachable.
Realistic: be reasonable and avoid the realms of fantasy.
Timely: create timeframes for completing steps, for example, doing short courses or talking with someone about the skills required for a particular job.
Empowering: make sure your goals feel right for you and help you make the changes you want.
Reviewable: do not set your goals in concrete; be flexible.
Write clearly defined, short statements you can work towards. If you are unable to identify a specific job you want, indicate your goals in more general terms. This is all part of good career strategy foundations. But remember: the more specific you can be, the easier it will be to plan.
Step 4 Develop and implement your career strategy:
Now you have decided on your goals, you can develop an action plan to help you put your career strategy into action. But remember to remain flexible and open-minded. As you progress, your ideas might become more specific. During your job days you may encounter with further questions viz:
* Do you need additional job skills, experience or information?
* What areas of yourself will you need to develop?
* What actions do you need to take to realize your career goals?
* Do you need to find out more about what would be required to achieve your career goals?
* What kind of work experience would be helpful to you?
* Are there any changes you could make to the way you deal with people or work situations that might increase your likelihood of achieving your goals? How will you start to do this?
* Who can you discuss your goals with? When will you do this?
* Do you have a supportive network? Do you believe you are recognized as able to contribute information to this network? If not, what could you do about this?
* Do you have a mentor with whom you can discuss both the technical content and the intangibles of your job? If not, have you thought about finding a mentor? Is there someone in your workplace or elsewhere you could approach?
* Do you need to make some radical changes to your present direction? What are the first steps to achieving this change in direction and how will you take these steps?
* Do you think you will need to undertake further study? What steps could you take to do this?
Step 5 Review and adjust your plan:
As discussed earlier one needs to be flexible for a successful career planning so to handle the unpredictable events because career planning is a way of making the best use of your current situation and foreseeable opportunities. Draw on your experiences at work to help you achieve your goals. Revisiting your strategy will help to reinforce and clarify your thinking, and can help you decide if you need to change your career strategy, seek help or advice or put more effort into achieving your goals.