Before traveling or going for an adventure, most people always try to discover the shortest and most efficient path to their destination. If they start traveling without consulting a GPS or map and rely on their gut, they are more than likely to end up wasting valuable resources and precious time going in the wrong direction or getting lost along the way.
This exact same concept applies to your career – it’ll take you a long time to get to where you really need to be if you do not know what to do to get there. That is why a lot of career experts suggest spending a considerable amount of time on creating a proper career plan that will guide you throughout your life as a professional.
Amanda Augustine, a career service provider and an expert in career advising at TopResume says, “Regardless of how long you have been inside the workforce, it is important to play an active part to shape your career’s future. If you are not handling your own path in your career, someone may handle it for you – but you may not like the way it will lead you.”
This does not mean that you have to have everything thought out in detail. A career plan’s purpose is not to provide you with step-by-step, concrete instructions, but to create a general direction regarding your idea of success in your career.
Augustine said, “The magnificence of planning for your own career is that it can help you in exploring various career directions and opportunities so that you can determine a long-term goal for your own career confidently, then take some steps in achieving it.”
This is specifically true for soon-to-be or recent graduates in college who might end up taking a career path that is different from what they originally planned. According to Bob Labombard, the CEO/President of Avenica (formerly GradStaff), a career matchmaking company, there are a lot of students who alter their majors when they are undergraduates or end up working outside their field of expertise after they graduate.
Labombard stated to the Business News Daily,”It’s almost impossible for most college students to map out a detailed plan leading to a specific job or career area. Our advice for college students is to develop and identify their skills, abilities and experiences that employers will find compelling. The benefit of this approach is that it opens up many potential career fields, not just one.”
When you are trying to create your very own career plan, make sure to form the following aspects/factors:
An old cliché says that success is about who you know and hunting for a job maybe is the best example of that. According to Amanda, making a list of assets and resources can help you in achieving your long-term goals. The list should include professional growth opportunities, applicable membership associations, valuable links from your own network, and mentors.
Labombard added that job seekers must use and develop their own personal networks in augmenting their searches for a job, they should seek for mentors, coaches, professors, and other alumni, seeking for assistance from co-workers, friends of parents, and parents in helping them get their foot into the door holds a lot of opportunities. Informational interviews can be a great way to get more information concerning several employers.
You do not need to compose, “I must work for this company three years hereafter,” but you must have some general benchmarks that will help you to monitor your own progress and development. For instance, you may say you want to advance to a higher role in your chosen career in the next three years or start your own business in 5 years’ time. Instead of just hoping for the best, analyze those goals and break them down into smaller digestible steps and actions.
Now that you have a clear understanding of your career goals, you want to set a timeframe. Having a timeframe to complete each of your goals will help you continually make progress. When you are making progress, your confidence builds and with confidence comes momentum. Focused efforts produce results. A timeframe helps you to take intentional action and holds you accountable to a deadline and specifically clarifying your goals will help you to be realistic with how long each step will take.
Augustine recommended taking stock of your interests, weaknesses, and strengths, and listing all of them into your own career plan, to facilitate in clarifying all of your job goals and objectives. Using tools like career and personality assessments and the wheel of life are a great way to evaluate your strengths, values and interests and figure out how they can translate into your professional life.
What makes you marketable and profitable to employers? This will involve more than your applicable work experience alone, especially when you’re just starting your career and do not have that much experience. Along with your experience and training, consider your soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, communication and critical thinking. Non-professional jobs, volunteer work and extracurricular activities can also be considered as a fragment of your own value proposition.
Once you have made and organized your career path, you are required to commit to it, though that path is likely to change over time. Trust yourself and your instincts and change your path’s direction if ever something seems off.
Four ideas were given for you to organize your own growth in your professional career. However, there is one important thing that you have to experience in order for you to grow, that a tons of successful people, if not all, have experienced and that is to fail. Sometimes you have to fail in order for you to go forward. Don’t look at your failures negatively, as they give valuable lessons for your development. They say that experience is the best teacher – this saying is true in the past and still true now. Did you enjoy this article? Please give us a comment below.
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Brian Zeng, the founder of the site Ponbee, is an entrepreneur who loves writing motivational quotes and articles to inspire people. Ponbee has a collection of new and nurturing topics to share with the world.