4 steps to developing your career plan

Quite a number of people get into employment without a career plan or goal and end up floating around for years. Needless to say that the best way to achieve a steady climb up the corporate ladder is to set a career plan. A detailed plan should outline your professional goals and strategies for getting where you desire to be.

Of course, a plan is susceptible to change as it doesn’t take into account the opportunities or mishaps that life often tosses our way. Still, it is better to have a plan to guide you towards achieving your goal than to merely “wing” it.

Here’s how to create your own career plan in a few steps.

Evaluate Your Personality

In choosing a career path, it is important to do a thorough self- evaluation, so as to make an informed decision.

  • Go ahead and draw a SWOT analysis on yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your best character traits and which are your worst? You may even get your family or close friends to pitch in.
  • It is important to define your values and attitude towards work as this is very instructive in determining the work culture that best suit you and ultimately, what companies will be good fits for you. Are you more passionate about the value you add or about how much money you can make? Are you excited to work round the clock or do you belong to the work-life balance school of thought?
  • What awakens your interest? There is nothing as frustrating as getting into a career that holds absolutely no measure of excitement for you. When you have chosen your industry of interest, you still have to decide in what area you want to specialize. For instance, if you choose to be in the advertising industry, would you rather be a voice-over artist or a concept strategist?
  • What skill sets do you have? Your skill set should be the major determinant of the kind of industry and the capacity in which you choose to work. Let us say for instance, you are a graduate of Banking and Finance and are people-oriented, you will likely do well working as a Human Resource Executive of a financial house.
  • In what kind of environment are you most effective? Do you prefer working the field like marketers or do you like all-day desk jobs? This is a question of personality and skill. If you are energetic and extroverted, depending on your field of study, you may want to consider job options such as Marketing, Geology, Journalism, Client Services, Civil Engineering, etc

Having distinctly defined your preferences, the next phase is to Look for opportunities that offer the specifics you want.

  • Don’t merely rush to apply for jobs, review available openings to ascertain those that best fit your criteria. Consult with professionals in your network who hold or have held positions similar to the one you want, in order to get a feel of what your desired job entails.
  • It’s not just good enough to find a vacancy that suits you. To enjoy your work, it is important to find a place that suits your personality and work ethic; so, research potential companies and consider their work culture.

Evaluate your skills. What are the skills required?

  • Evaluate your skill set and compare them to what is required for your ultimate job. If there is a gap, then you must consider taking up relevant courses to make up for the shortfall. It is up to you to close that gap by equipping yourself for the job you want.
  • Find out where these courses are being tutored and get registered, preferably with a recognized professional body. The more recognized the course or professional body, the more authenticity and boost it lends to your resume, which is the ultimate goal.
  • Devise the tactics needed to gain the knowledge in instances where a formal education is not necessary. You can learn on your own if, for instance, you devote an hour daily to learn the subject in which you have a shortfall.

Draft a career plan

Having taken care of the preliminaries of determining what you want, whether you are qualified and where you’d prefer, it’s time to create your career plan.

  • Decide the position you prefer to apply for. For Instance, if you have 4 years’ worth of experience, you can get a job as a senior executive. Ensure you never rest on your oasis; you must consistently develop new skills and deliver on new projects to keep moving up the corporate ladder.
  • Think ahead. It is important to have some sort of consistent comparison between the skills you currently have and those needed for the position you are likely to be promoted. Ensure you keep on improving and adding personal value to yourself till you get to your desired position.

Follow through with the plan you have drawn and in no time, you will attain the ultimate position in desire.

May 22, 2018
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