Having a career plan is important. It can help you manage the direction you want your career to take, the job skills and knowledge you will need, and how you can get them. A great career plan relies on strong foundations. The form of your career plan will depend on the kind of person you are. It may be very structured, or you may just need a few notes in each area - such as knowledge, skills and qualities, what you like doing and the type of jobs that interest you. Pick a career you actually like -most career problems stem from the fact that we are terrible at picking jobs. But also keep in mind what you're good at. Maybe you don't feel that passionate about any specific career—or you love multiple areas and can't decide on just one. Then it's time to think about your personality and focus on the skills you have. Well, you say, what if you don't know what you're good at or even what you're interested in? Career assessment tests can help narrow down a field.
Consider what is important to you. We all have 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 plan. 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 plan. Do you think you will need to undertake further study? What steps could you take to do this? Do you feel in charge of your own career direction? If not, how can you gain more confidence and take charge?
When preparing your career plan action plan, include what you will do and how you will do it. Make a list of people whose help you will seek and draw up a time plan of when you will do each action. The timeframe should be at least 12 months; however, a longer period may be appropriate. Review and adjust your plan -career planning is a way of making the best use of your current situation and foreseeable opportunities. Given that unpredictable events and changes can occur over time, view your plan as a guide and allow space for adjustments and changes to your approach. Draw on your experiences at work to help you achieve your goals. You will generally find it helpful to revisit your plan each year.
Remember, the career plan you put in place at one stage of your life may not be relevant once you have achieved certain goals and experienced other job and life events. Revisiting your plan will help to reinforce and clarify your thinking, and can help you decide if you need to change your career plan, seek help or advice or put more effort into achieving your goals. Think about what excites and energizes you -we all want to enjoy and actually like our careers. Perhaps the biggest sign you're on the wrong path is if you dread talking about your job. While passion isn't the only requirement for being content in your career, many would say it's still essential, if only because passion is what keeps you going even through the tough times.
About the Author:
Anthony Dew is an Associate Director of Mood Group – A specialist Head-hunting and Recruitment practice to the Printing, Packaging & Industrial Processing sectors.