Anyone planning to have a successful career life has to have a strategic career plan in place. Great careers don’t just happen, they require determination, talent, and strategic thinking to work.
With a career plan, you can create strategic objectives that will help you meet your desired career goals. For whatever organisation you’re a part of, having a career plan adds value to them because when you develop yourself, you can give your best output.
We’re going to be looking at several steps you can take to develop a career plan for yourself.
Developing a Career Plan
Career plans are strategic steps that help you determine your interests, set goals, and take actions that help you reach said goals. They are a list of short or long-term goals dedicated to improving your career life. When you develop a career plan, you are taking steps to ensure that you have a more organised professional future.
Career planning refers to the strategy an individual takes to determine his/her career goals and the path taken to achieve said goals. Making a career plan is a continuous cycle of learning and improvement, it is said to be a part of life planning.
Developing a career plan doesn’t have to start at a particular age or stage in life. You can develop a career plan while in high school or when you are working in an organization. Making a career plan is essential as you learn and adapt to changes in life.
When you develop a career plan, it involves planning and exploration of all career options available, this enables people to find the career that best fits their abilities.
Importance of Developing a Career Plan
Developing a career plan gives you clarity on the direction your future career is going to take. It helps you narrow down your strengths and weaknesses, so you can work on them. It gives you an insight into the skills and knowledge needed to reach your career goals.
Career plans help you define your future career path, developing one can help you create and achieve goals that set your career path towards greatness. When you develop a career plan, you can understand and evaluate skills you’re good at.
Developing a career plan boosts your self-confidence. You can determine the areas of strength and weakness in your career, assess them and make strategic goals to improve. It gives an understanding of what you want to accomplish in your career and shows you how well you did in the past.
It makes you accountable for your career future. To have a successful career, you will have to take the right steps, and develop the right skills to help you towards your goal. You will not be able to blame outer sources for your failure because you know the right steps to take to achieve your goal.
It gives you a sense of direction. When you develop a career plan, you’re taking steps in the right direction that would facilitate the accomplishment of your career goals.
Steps To Developing a Career Plan
Self-assessment involves taking a close look at who you are and what makes you who you are. Understanding your unique characteristics, values, skills, and interests are all part of self-assessment.
The best source of info about you is yourself, understanding your past and present work life will go a long way in helping you discern which areas you need guidance with.
When you understand the type of things you love(interests), the things of importance to you(values), and the things you are good at(skills), it will help you find a job/work that is the best fit for you. This is important because you don’t want to be like the many workers that dislike their careers.
You have to explore a bunch of career options to know which one would be the best fit. You gather info about each career option by talking to people, reading, or researching about the career choice. You can also take classes that are essential to your career choice.
An internship is also a way of exploring career options, and it is also one of the best ways. By interning in a career you are interested in, you can find out more about the career and how well it links with your skills, values, and interests.
It’s important to be careful when gathering career information, so you don’t make mistakes and gather false info. Now that you have a list of the career options you’d like, it is important to identify which one fits your primary career goal.
Identify Your Career/Job Target
Sometimes it is difficult to narrow down your list of career choices to the one that fits you best. It is imperative that you conduct further research to aid you.
When you want to identify which career is the best for you, you have to find out the requirements and qualifications needed for that career. If you desire a job/career with a specific qualification, you would have to get the education required to give you that qualification.
For example, if you are a medical student, and your career goal is to specialize in neurosurgery, you would have to take the necessary exams and get the qualification needed for the specialization.
Identify Your Industry Experience
Now that you know what type of career you want, you have to compare your current experience with the goals you want to achieve. By comparing the requirements of your career goal with your current skills and experience, you can make small and significant goals to achieve them
Set Your Career Goal
Setting up a career goal is the key to having a successful career. Career goals help you keep track of your career vision and mission. The best way to set career goals is to use SMART goals.
SMART goals are goals that are specific, attainable, relevant, measurable, and time-based. You can write down your goals, so they are accessible to you, or you can find an accountability partner to share them with so you can keep track of them easily. As studies show that just 25% of people stay committed to their goals after 30 days of setting them.
Now that you know who you are, you know what you want to do, and you have set up goals, it is time to plan how to achieve them. At this stage, you should already know all your skills and interests and you should be figuring out the steps to take to get to your desired goal.
Planning can involve setting up a list of pros and cons associated with your career path, evaluating how your interests, skills, and values align with your path, and what future consequences would arise from venturing down that path.
Start Planning Now
When it comes to your professional life, where do you stand? Are you ready to make changes to your career? Developing a career plan is essential, whether you’re just starting a new career journey or changing your career path.
You need to take time to reflect on your career mission and vision. Once you’ve established your plans and goals, evaluate how far you would like to go with your career and be prepared to take steps to become a successful professional.
Because of the connections we make and the experiences we have in our places of work, it can be said your career is directly proportional to your happiness. So making a career plan can set you on a course to having a happy and successful work life.