Career planning is essential for achieving your goals and aspirations. Don’t believe us? Then check out this brief rundown of what career planning actually is and learn how it can benefit you in the long run.
Everybody can benefit from having a career plan. Whether you’re still studying and planning for the future, or you’ve already been working for several years, having a career plan should be high on your agenda.
University student? Create a career plan to set your goals after completing your studies.
Employed? Create a career plan to strategise how to move up in your company or how to enter a new career.
Business owner? Create a career plan to visualise where you want to be in 5 years and how you’re going to get there.
A career plan is a flexible, dynamic strategy that helps you get from Point A to Point B. It begins with identifying what Point B means to you (a new job? A promotion?) and then looks at the steps you need to take to in order to get there. These steps could involve anything, from taking a new course to attending networking events.
But, it’s also much more than that. Career planning is an ongoing process that involves thinking about key areas of your life, such as:
- Your personal interests
- Your values
- Your skills and experience
- Your responsibilities
- Your priorities
By considering all of these factors, you can ensure that your work will fit with your personal circumstances. Those who choose to ignore their personal circumstances when it comes to their work often face clashes that foster discontent and stress. That’s why your career plan should include a personal overview as well as a professional one.
Fail to plan, plan to fail. Unless you set out you goals and objectives and how you will accomplish them, you are highly unlikely to achieve them.
Not only does it give you the chance to clarify what you actually want from your career, it also makes your goals more achievable. When you set milestones, you break your goals down into manageable chunks. Signing off these smaller victories helps to keep you feeling motivated and fulfilled whilst you work towards your bigger, long-term goals.
You’ll also have the opportunity to reflect on the progress you’re making. Are you meeting the milestones that you’ve set for yourself? Is there the potential for self-improvement anywhere? Your career plan will allow you to monitor your overall performance and identify any weaknesses or gaps in your strategy.
It doesn’t matter where, as long as it’s written down! You can write it in your yearly planner, type it up on your computer or print it out and stick it by your desk. Whatever works best for you. As long as you don’t put it down and never look at it again. However, you should keep in mind that creating your plan is only the first step. It’s only by checking back in with it that you’ll be able to follow it properly.
A career plan is something that can be created at any point on your career path. But, the important thing to remember is to treat your plan as a guideline, not as a set-in-stone rule book. The great thing about making your own personal plan is the fact that you can go back and revisit it at any time. You can tweak it slightly or completely delete the whole thing and start again. It’s totally up to you.
There are no rules. Whenever you feel like you have a new goal to work towards, or you begin to feel unfulfilled in your job, you should take the time to think things through and settle on clear action steps that you can put into practice.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below – have you ever created a career plan? Has it helped you to clarify your goals?