Career planning is a relentless activity of setting individual career goals and exploring ways to achieve them through various means. It is a valuable exercise to begin and successfully manage one’s career.
Let me share the Nine facts to be considered for devising a plan for a successful career.
Identify yourself- Who am I?
The preliminary step to successfully plan your career is to understand your interests, strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Begin by asking yourself some questions like:
What do I enjoy doing?
What motivates me?
What are my strengths and weakness?
What kind of lifestyle do I aspire for?
What are my personal goals?
What qualifications and experience do I have?
What kind of legacy do I want to leave?
Take a scientific career assessment test
Technology has ushered in a revolution in career-planning and psychometrics. Many online tools leverage the power of technology to profile your personality, interests, aptitude, orientation style, and emotional intelligence to suggest the best career matches. Such tools facilitate accurate and objective decisions. It not only judges a student’s ability in a real-time scenario but also maps them according to industry standards to give you a report. The insights you gain through such an assessment is significant while making a career decision.
Chase your passion- Market Research
Once you have discovered your interests and strengths, it is time to figure out what kind of opportunities are there in the job market. Consider some job profiles that align with your goals, interests, and strengths. You may also look at online resources like “O*NET Online,” which has detailed classification and information on 974 occupations as on date. Conduct thorough research about prevailing market trends and read company reviews to get details about salary, work culture, growth opportunities, and any other factor which is essential to you. Talk to working professionals in your network to get an on-ground perspective. You may consider professional networks like Glassdoor or LinkedIn to reach out to professionals and seek insider’s views of their respective domains. Shortlist a few job roles that you find interesting and would like to pursue. Once the file is ready for each of the job roles, ask yourself the following questions –
i. Is it matching my interest?
ii. Will this help me achieve my goals?
iii. What kind of industry excites me the maximum?
iv. What kind of job roles would suit me the best?v. Are my qualifications and skills aligned with these jobs?
Once you get answers, you should be able to shortlist your preferred job options and proceed to the next step in your career planning.
Identify the gap
For all the fascinating job roles that you have added to your list, write down the skills, experience, and qualifications required for all of them. Find the gap between now and what you need to acquire, to get those jobs. These could be either skill gaps, experience gaps, or qualification gaps.
Bridge the gap
After having gauged the gap between what you have and what you need to have for the shortlisted careers, you need to find an acceptable and recognized way of closing the gap. You may take up online courses to learn new skills or apply for an internship to gain relevant experience. This experience will give you a feel of the job role as well, giving you real-time job experience. For getting higher qualifications, you may have to consider going back to college for a full-time course.
Make your Choice
From all the options that are available for selection, it is time to taper down your options matching your requirements. And finalize the role that aligns well with your interests, goals, and abilities. In the initial stages of your planning, it is prudent to narrow down your choices to as small as possible. If research and evaluation are done thoroughly, you will be able to make a confident choice.
Have an action plan
As you have decided on your career goal, its time to make an action plan to accomplish it. By now, you should have clarity regarding where you are and where you want to be down the line. A career plan ideally should be time-bound and realistic to achieve. From pursuing a course to writing your cover letter, and updating your resume, plan out each step in detail. Assign timelines for every rung while being open to improvising along the way as and when needed.
In a fast-changing world, dominated by technological innovations like Cloud computing, IoT, & AI, the job market’s dynamics shall change and along with it, an individual’s aspirations too. It is advisable to revisit and re-evaluate your career plan as and when there are significant changes in the job market. After reviewing your options, you may want to learn new skills or completely change your career path. Do what you love. Design your career by choice to be successful and happy.
Find a mentor
Find a mentor or a coach who can provide you with valuable insights and moral support. LinkedIn has developed into a prominent networking and recruitment platform, so if you’re not on it, you could be missing out on expanding your professional network. Having a good professional network and a mentor can make a massive difference to your career in the long run. You may also consider taking the help of a professional career coach.
Though it seems like a lot of work, planning for your career is worth the effort. It will lift your confidence and supports you in accomplishing your career goal. So, go ahead and have a career plan.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of career planning:
i. It will give clarity of career goals and the appropriate path to achieve the goals.
ii. It will help in optimizing your energy, time, and efforts, resulting in career success.
iii. You can make confident choices and be in control of your career progress.
iv. It will help you to remain focussed and align your personal goals with your career goals.
v. It will reduce unnecessary distractions and minimize the impact of any market uncertainty on your future career growth.
Career planning is more relevant in today’s dynamic and disruptive world. If you plan right, it certainly help you to overcome the challenges on the professional front and allows you to be successful in your chosen career.
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