Career planning is one of the most underrated exercises. And maybe one of the biggest reasons why most professionals end up doing an ordinary comfortable job and not living up to their fullest potential.
That is true that your career is not entirely in your hand as it gets affected by many external factors such as global economic situations, technological changes, family priorities etc. Still having a plan in hand can save you from many unexpected downturns.
Many professionals shy away from career planning, as they think it will equip them with a rigid pathway, which they will not be able to follow, but rest assured this is not the case.
Career planning will give you a basic plan for your career trajectory. It will make you aware of your shortcomings, you will know what steps you need to take in order to overcome these shortcomings. You will become more conscious of your choices and priorities in life and this will further save you from getting stuck in a bad job or a career. Basically, it is a plan, which will maximize your growth prospects.
Now let’s talk about what steps to follow to prepare a career plan.
Be true to yourself. List out your strengths and weaknesses. Know your values, your skills, your work pattern. Have a clear picture of your ambitions and dreams in your mind. Draw a map for your future financial needs, your family priorities etc.
Knowing yourself better is the most important aspect of career planning as there are careers out there, which seems very lucrative, but might not be fit as per your personality and preferences in life and choosing such career will leave you drained and unsatisfied at the end.
Know The Market :
After self-evaluation, the second step is to know what is out there in the market. Which companies are performing well. Which industry is booming. What job options are there in your field of interest and what these jobs require in terms of qualification and experience.
Talk to people, know about real scenario behind these jobs. Learn how to make an entry and how after an entry you can advance further. what skills you lack in order to get that job and how you can get yourself skilled in those skills.
Extensive market research and your network can help you in getting all such information.
What Works For You:
Now when you know about your skills and potentials and also about what is out there in the market.
It’s time for matchmaking or linking your skills and priorities with available options and then planning.
Chart down a plan of where you are and where you want to be.
Then mark down those industries or jobs or promotions (those which are in match with your personality and skills) that you should get in every stage to reach to your final goals.
Write down steps of what you need to do in order to reach there.
Find out what skills and qualification and experiences you lack to achieve your goals. And what action you should take to gain those skills, qualification & experiences.
Don’t forget to consider other factors such as cost, location, family priorities etc. while making the plan for all the stages.
Time For Action:
After charting down a plan, things will get pretty clear to you. You would know at what stage, what action needs to be taken. So its time to start.
If in order to reach the second stage, you need to change your job. Then go for it. Make a dynamic CV, start learning those skills which you lack, start interacting with people working in different organizations and applying for jobs. If you want to change your career field altogether, then go for an internship, shadowing or training. If you think that a promotion or movement within your current organization will help you in achieving your goals then start aiming for that.