Whether you are starting a new career or about to change your career midway, it is always advisable to do some career planning in advance. If you have an action plan ready in advance, you can avoid any setbacks in your career. Career planning needs time, research and effort. Jobseekers, students and other candidates need to plan their career with careful thought and consideration. Successful career planning is based on four building blocks –
1. Self Assessment
While making a self-assessment, candidates need to be quite honest and bold to themselves. To start with, you can prepare a inventory which includes your skill sets (basic, social, technical etc), interests, value in workplace and style of learning. Now, you need to review all of these. Do not overlook your weaknesses. To help yourself with the process of assessment, you can also use various free career assessment tests and diagnosis tools available on the internet.
The next most important building block of successful career planning is research. Yes, it requires both time and effort. But the result you get will be worth the effort or more. First, try to prepare a list of career options that you are interested in. Now when you know of careers you are interested in, you can start researching and gathering as much information about these careers as possible. Get in touch with employment organizations, professional people and participate in volunteering work to accumulate more and more career information.
3. Make a Fit
Now it is time to compare your careers of interest with your personal inventory (self assessment). Figure out which careers match the most with your skill sets, strengths, interests, values, personality etc. Have a look at the career options you conducted a research on. Try to find out the career option that is the best match for your skills and interests.
4. Create a Plan
So, you have selected your best career option and have a career goal. It is now time to prepare an action plan on how to go about achieving your career goal. Know about the education, degree or training that you need to obtain for pursuing the career of your interest. Find out about the schools and colleges that offer degrees or training you are looking for. Know the cost of education that you are going to pursue. Figure out if you will need some financial aid. Apply for college students scholarships available in your chosen field. And finally, have a realistic time frame required to reach your career goal.
Only you will be accountable for your career and no one else. The statement goes for most of the people living on this planet. You might have got some career planning tips from your family and friends. Or you might have not got any from them. Well, effective planning is an essential part of any program which needs successful execution. Here are some essential tips for successful career planning. Don’t keep these successful career planning tips to yourself, but also remember to share it your friends and those who seek professional help. Planning your career is not something hard to do. In fact as you follow these tips and plan your career successfully, you will surely have a positive and rewarding experience.
Fix a day or weekend for career planning annually
We perform so many activities on an annual basis. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to devote a weekend every year to career planning? If you are really serious about making your career one of the most profitable one, you can never reject the idea. Take out some time and spend it to focus your career. On your career alone!
Think what you actually like and what you don’t
The current job and the career path may not lead to the same destination. Make a list of your likes and dislikes and reflect on them. The list can include anything that you strongly like or hate, not just something related to your job. After you have prepared a list of your likes and dislikes, you can finally match your current job with these. Which column does your current job fall into? If it falls into the ‘likes’ column, things are going to be good. But if the activities of your job fall into the ‘dislikes’ column, it’s about time you began looking for new jobs and new careers.
Put your hobbies or pastimes under the scanner
Also spend some time examining the activities that you most like to indulge when you are not working. These non-work activities may not always be a joke. These hobbies and pastimes can give you some useful hints for career paths. There are countless examples where people have made great careers out of their hobbies or pastimes.
Keep building network
You never know that the contact you just made would soon invite you to a fulfilling career with them. After, you should be aware that around 50% of all jobs are obtained through different contacts or networks. So, never stop building your network. Sooner or later, it will pay.
Never stop learning
Learning should be like the show that must go on. The learning activity should always continue even as you advance in age. Keep adding to your current skills; acquire new ones so that you may be ready for a better career in future.
Keep an eye on career and job trends
For a long-term and successful career planning, you need to keep abreast of the latest career and job trends. A revision of career and job trends will make you able to market yourself well even in bad times. Be informed about the employment growth rate of the careers that you are interested in.