Career planning is essential not only for choosing a career that is right for you but for making smooth transitions between careers during the course of your working life. This is important because most people will change career on several occasions during the course of their productive years.
If you have read the other topics in this career advice section you will have realised that self introspection is the cornerstone of all matters relating to career development. Not surprisingly therefore, proper career planning stems from prior self introspection and analysis of your needs and aspirations.
When you have decided on a career that is right for your personality, aptitude and core values, you should establish in your mind a clear career development plan. There is a poignant ancient Chinese proverb which says "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". Wise words indeed and they apply to your own career development.
But before taking any long journey, you will surely need to know where you're heading. Career planning is synonymous to taking a careful reading of a compass heading before a long journey, vital to prevent getting lost along the way and ensuring you get to your final destination as planned. Proper career planning not only points you in the right direction, it also enables you to decide on how to get to your destination within a specified time span.
Knowing what you want and how to achieve it is a key element of career planning that provides a powerful feeling of being in control of your situation at all times. Without control, people drift, often in the wrong direction resulting in frustration, unfulfilled dreams, wasted talents and despair.
Formulate A Realistic Action Plan
You must set objectives and goals within your chosen career. Avoid underestimating your abilities when deciding on your goals. Some goals are long term whereas others are more immediate and short term. Through self introspection, you should formulate a plan for yourself based on a framework such as the following:
- re-affirm the main attractions of your chosen career
- re-affirm personal qualities you can offer in your ideal job
- re-affirm professional qualities you can add to your ideal jobs
- what transferable skills do you possess for your chosen field?
- consider the possibility of having to gain further qualifications
- specify primary goals you want to achieve
- specify secondary goals you want to achieve
- define clear phases of career progression in your chosen field
- define your specified targets within realistic time spans
- where do you see yourself within this career in 12 months?
- where do you see yourself within this career in 2 years?
- where do you see yourself within this career in 5 years?
- how can this career make you a better person professionally?
- make regular reviews of your plans
People whose core personalities and strengths are in tune with their careers are more fulfilled and tend to excel more. Discover your ideal work style with the popular online 15 minute myDISCprofile personality test.