Time dedicated to career management is likely to lead to a more rewarding career. Whether you are looking to progress in your current career direction or to change direction, ongoing career planning will help you keep control of your path.
The first step is to define your long term career goal. The second to establish short term goals to enable you to reach your ultimate goal.
Long term goal
Ask yourself some questions to help define your goal:
- What would you ideally like your work to be?
- What would you like to achieve, professionally and personally?
- What would you like to earn?
- And what work/life balance do you hope to achieve?
And identify your strengths and weaknesses across your knowledge, skills and experience. Noting which aspects you really enjoy and excel at.
Work through your skills and achievements relating to:
- Financial management – have you increased profitability?
- Time management – have you saved time or increased efficiency?
- Organisation – are you good at multi-tasking and managing projects?
- Communication – are you a good presenter, do you have good writing skills?
- Innovation – have you solved problems, made improvements or come up with new ideas?
- Opportunities – have you identified opportunities or generated business?
- Client management – are you good at building relationships and managing clients’ expectations?
- Staff management – do you have good leadership skills or responsibility for a team?
- Teamwork – do you work well in a team?
- Adaptability – can you successfully adapt to change?
Also consider your technical and industry knowledge, and any supporting qualifications. And the geography of your work experience and your language skills.
You should now have a picture of what you are striving for, where you currently are in your career and what you have to offer.
The next step is to assess the gap between your current situation and your end goal. What do you need to do to get there? Now establish a series of short term goals to reach your ultimate goal.
Short term goals
Your short term goals should be achievable, with realistic timescales. Prioritise aspects that are most crucial in achieving your long term goal. Plan the actions needed to reach each short term goal and set your goals on a timescale.
As you reach each goal, assess your progress and adjust your goals if you can see a more appropriate route. This process will give you direction, clarity and reward on achieving your goals.
Keep your CV up to date with your progress, it will be satisfying to see it improve. And the process will create another opportunity to assess and reaffirm your direction.
In addition to monitoring your own progress, keep up to date with developments within your industry. Identifying trends will enable you to adjust your plans to ensure you are best preparing yourself to meet employer’s future needs.