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Career Planning Process

Via Economic Times : How to plan a career in changing job market

Remember the good old days? The streets were safe. Goods were cheap. Jobs were aplenty. You got promoted every few years. You had an income for life. But the world has changed. Neither your city nor your job is safe anymore. Hiring intentions are at a 12-year low in India as per a Manpower Group report.

Businesses are evolving or collapsing rapidly thanks to changes in multiple technologies and massive Internet penetration. Whatever job you do now will transform in three years or your employer will get it done cheaper and faster either through technology or by a younger replacement. Here’s how you can plan a career in a job market that will change more in the next five years than in the previous 50!


Sticking to your current skill set is a sure shot way to becoming redundant. Are you an accountant who knows how to keep books? This single skill earlier could get you a job and keep you there for a lifetime. Just a few years back, this skill became useless if you could not use an accounting software.

Similarly, a single change called GST meant that your contribution to your employer dropped dramatically unless you were willing to learn new skills. Book-keepers now get paid much lower wages than a mere five years ago.

The knowledge that you hold today and spent years in acquiring and polishing is worth far lesser if you take even a single year sabbatical from continuous learning. With Internet penetration, knowledge is incredibly cheap and even the youngest patient and legal client questions and double checks the service he is getting versus the price he is paying.

Similarly, companies are learning that it is foolhardy and uncompetitive to pay senior professionals more for their knowledge alone. A youngster with less than half the experience can acquire that knowledge at a substantially lower salary.

Work hard and you will succeed is terrible standalone advice in the current job market. Merely trading in more hours of your labour will not work anymore. For every job that requires human hours, someone somewhere is working on technology to reduce time required to do a task to make you either more productive or redundant.

Companies are investing in bots to speak with online customers. IBM Watson scans all medical knowledge and a patient’s computerised history to accurately diagnose and prescribe thus reducing your role as a healthcare professional. From manufacturing to services to knowledge work, your labour hours are being replaced by technology solutions that help your company reduce costs and increase productivity.

If you are a technology-dependent professional, you know this better than anyone else. Massive changes in the technology that you used 2-3 years back forced you to head back to the classroom to upgrade or become irrelevant. Relying on your comfort with current technology in your job is the fastest route to losing your job to the next savvy professional who comes along.

Artificial intelligence in language/data, robotics/3D printing, Internet of Things in goods/manufacturing/labour and Internet/computing in knowledge/education are rapidly evolving technology spaces where your comfort levels in using them needs to keep pace to stay professionally relevant.


Yuval Noah Harari in his book Sapiens ascribes evolutionary success to the ability of getting large numbers of people to work together. The primary difference between being merely skilled and being successful lies in how you work with others.

To achieve this, you require the ability to communicate and sell your ideas to others. As each person is different, you can relate to and deliver real value only when you figure out what individually matters to them. Work on your negotiation skills to master the art of reaching agreement on common goals and process.

Stay curious and stay hungry. If your current skills and knowledge are redundant, the only thing that you will ever require is the ability to learn. This is an acquired skill. The first step is to be intensely curious. Observe children who have the steepest learning curves simply because they are constantly curious about the world around them.

Let the work and success of others fascinate you enough to ask questions and read up on how they do what they do. Automate your learning process by constantly signing up for training available with your employer or online. No learning will ever go waste and no employer will ever let go of someone who can connect the dots across business and solve problems.

You will do well to set aside at least two hours every weekend to just pause and think. Ask yourself what happened in the previous week or month, what new knowledge you acquired and how can you improve your plan for the future.

As you invest in thinking, you will find yourself creating solutions for small problems at first and increasingly larger ones as you go along. Congratulations. Your creativity means future income for you!


Be paranoid
What could go wrong in your job? How will you find your next source of income? 28-year-old IITian Prabhkiran Singh—Cofounder at Bewakoof. com—believes constantly questioning what is working well helped his team build a Rs 60 crore profitable e-commerce startup without VC backing.

Double up
Get a second career, work a second shift, sell to a second client or acquire a second skill. Mayur Taday—Dy COO of a Rs 1,300 crore HR firm—believes constantly reinventing his career from sales to operations to product to startup helped him grow into a CXO role.

Stay fit
Investing in achieving high fitness levels increases ability and time required for learning and growth. Abhijit Yadav, an ex-Navy officer believes five hours a week in squash and golf gave him the energy, positivity and drive to rise to a Director from scratch in five years.

Stay sharp
To stay alive and kicking in your career, keep your mind ticking by constantly challenging and feeding it. Rustom Batlivala, a successful finance and investment professional, with careers in consulting, advertising and PE stays sharp by reading, learning music and meeting experts every week.

Grow people
The way to attract and lead people is to teach them, help them solve problems and unlock their potential. Shishir Gorle, CEO of Innovource, a staffing company, rose to the top by leveraging his armed forces experience to invest in people and helping them surpass their goals.

Via Forbes : Five Common Mistakes People Make When Seeking Their Next Career Move — And What To Do Instead

Maybe it’s because the academic year is kicking off (a new beginning!), or the calendar year is winding down (it’s nearly the end!), but I’m hearing from a lot of professionals antsy for their next career move. When people say they want to move on but they haven’t already done so, then there’s clearly something holding them back. Below are five common mistakes people make when trying to find their next career move and suggestions for what to do instead:

Mistake 1: you wait for the change, instead of designing it yourself

One experienced professional contacted me after being given more responsibility, which could have been seen as a positive change, but impacted her negatively since the additional work came without additional compensation. This was a wake-up call to look around but she had no idea where to start and was now busier than ever so had even less time for career planning.

Don’t be so busy responding to everything around you that you end up with a career by default. At least this professional was greeted with more work (albeit too much of it!). Other people come to understand the value of proactive career planning when they’re laid off or their nice boss leaves or they discover how far under market they are being paid.

If you only respond after a change happens, then you miss the opportunity to design your ideal next career move. Instead, set regular reminders in your calendar for proactive career management. Quarterly, set a reminder to update your resume, online profile and achievement portfolio. Monthly, set a reminder to reach out to your broader network, beyond who you might connect with more regularly. Weekly, set a reminder to update your social media or return recruiter phone calls. These reminders can be scheduled into your electronic calendar, so you set it once and have an accountability partner year-round.

Mistake 2: you wait for a better time, instead of making the time right

Another professional contacted me intending to make a move but then postponed some of the homework I suggested because of a work deadline, then postponed a session because of work travel, and then asked for a pause in the coaching plan because of a particularly busy time at work. Keep in mind that all her running around was for a job she said she didn’t want any longer!

If you wait for a better time to start working on your next career move, that time will never come. You have to make the time. You have to ruthlessly cut things out of your schedule till you free up enough hours to get some traction on your job search or your business venture or just some free time if you need to experiment to find your next career move.

Aim for one block of several hours one to two days per week. Then add some dedicated time during your work day because some things have to be done during normal work hours. If you start small and build from there, you give yourself a chance to get used to your new schedule.

Mistake 3: you overlook opportunities right in front of you, instead of always keeping an open mind

As both a recruiter and a career coach, I know that recruiter phone calls often go unanswered. Busy professionals will insist they don’t have the time to return the call. In five to ten minutes with a recruiter, you can hear about the market, get a sense of how competitive you are, and possibly get a lead into an opportunity you might like. How can you not make the time?

I’ve heard that many calls are actually frogs, not princes, because the opportunity at hand isn’t a fit. But if you are getting called for the wrong thing, then you should be using these calls to pinpoint why this is happening. Is someone from your past referring you at too junior a level? If so, contact that person, thank them profusely for thinking of you (getting referred by someone is a compliment!), and inform them about what you’re currently doing and interested in. If you’re lucky enough to have someone so in your corner that they refer you, you want to cultivate that relationship.

If it’s not a specific person who is positioning you as too junior (or the wrong industry or whatever else is wrong about the opportunities you’re hearing about) then it might be you — in your online profile or in an old resume you have languishing in a career site somewhere — that is incorrectly positioning yourself. Take the time to return phone calls and figure out how you’re perceived in the market!

Mistake 4: you only look at opportunities that are right in front of you, instead of taking a step back or a broader perspective to design exactly what you want

On the flip side is the person who jumps at whatever opportunity s/he gets called about, without objectively thinking about whether this next career move makes sense. If you’re unhappy where you are, the temptation is great to assume that any other opportunity is better, but not every career move is a good move.

Setting regular reminders for career planning and career management activities (see point 1) is a good antidote to overly hasty decision-making. In addition, if you do hear of an opportunity, even if it sounds amazing or it’s for a company you’ve always been interested in, research two or more competitors to that company. At a minimum, you’ll get market information that will make you more credible to the initial company. Even better, you might uncover additional leads for your next career move, which gives you leverage, if you can stay in play with multiple companies at a time.

Mistake 5: you fixate on only one option, instead of pursuing multiple leads

Pursuing multiple leads is critical to thoughtful career planning. If you fixate on only one option and that option doesn’t work out, you have to stop and start your search all over again. Sometimes leads don’t pan out, and it has nothing to do with you – budget for the role gets pulled, someone internal takes the spot, the position description is tweaked but just enough so you’re no longer right for it.

In addition, multiple leads give you leverage in the interview and offer negotiation process. You’ll be more confident about asking for what you want and deserve, when all your hopes aren’t pinned to any one company. You’ll be more attractive to companies because people want what other people want, and companies hate losing out to a competitor.

Finally, pursuing multiple leads is a form of experimentation which you should be doing regularly throughout your career. You can’t know everything about a company or a position until you dig deeper – take that exploratory meeting, return for that callback interview, listen to the details of an offer before making assumptions about what a company will do or not. Don’t be so quick to shut down discussions!

As we kick off another school year and wind down another calendar year, it’s a natural inflection point to considering your next career move. Take this opportunity to be proactive and thoughtful about what comes next. If you find yourself making one of the five mistakes above, use this post to stop yourself and try one of the other suggestions. If you’ve successfully made a move, what has worked for you?

Via Huffington Post : The Key to Smart Career Planning Is to Enjoy on the Journey

What are some tips for someone who wants to start thinking more constructively about long term career planning? originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Shefaly Yogendra, Governance, risk & decision making specialist | Board director and trustee | Advisor to founders, CEOs and boards, on Quora:

This is not career advice we often hear. But this is exactly what evidence says. I have not only built a career (23 years at the time of writing in 2017) but have also closely observed the trajectories of many of my peers.

A hard-set goal can distract us from opportunities and from personal joy.

For instance, a lawyer might join a law firm with a goal is to make partner is X number of years. Some may not enjoy the journey but are set on the goal at great personal cost. Yet others, when they realise they are not enjoying it, may be better placed for alternative paths such as becoming an in-house lawyer or becoming a business advisor. I have both kinds of lawyer friends and the latter kind, aided by their flexibility and open mind, are enjoying wholesome success in their careers and have become well-rounded persons, citizens, parents in the process.

A journey, on the other hand, allows us to revise our goals, redefine our roles, identify emergent opportunities, and take advantage of all that instead of ignoring or dismissing them in pursuit of an unchanging career goal.

When my peer group started our careers, the web was beginning to appear in our workplaces. Most of my MBA classmates didn’t even have a personal email ID for the first 3-4 years. Many laughed at me in the late 1990s for being an Amazon devotee while I lived in a non-English speaking country because why would you give your credit card number to some unknown website! But I found the possibilities fascinating, and Amazon was just the beginning of it. I am now on my fourth “career” and continue to work across boundaries of technologies and disciplines in ways that are still not common, putting me in a rarefied space that challenges, stretches and keeps me engaged every day.

How would one translate such advice into daily choices?

By making sure every step counts. One of my tests of a good day is to have learnt something new before bedtime, while making some progress on my path of growth. This sounds easier than it is but its value in the aggregate is incomparable.

I have board room credibility at this stage of my career, when I talk about this “technology” and “disruption” stuff. I learnt through immersion, early adoption, abstraction, application, exploring possibilities, and not being afraid to learn through failing at times. More importantly, I see and do not dismiss the fear in the board rooms, and help them through the journey by sharing with them both my sense of wonder and excitement, and my solid business advice grounded in pragmatism and possibilities.

That was my journey — learning.

Identify yours, and embark on it.

In the “long term”, change was and is the only constant. Be sure, it doesn’t hit you in the face and that you see it coming so you can change or redefine your path. That won’t be easy or simple or painless, if you are fixated on a goal.

via Business InsiderCareer Paths Are Outdated — Here’s What You Should Be Doing Instead

This post from Nicole Gravagna, president of NeuroEQ, originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question, “What are key mistakes people make when trying to actively develop their career?” 

The biggest mistake people make when they actively try to develop their career is to focus on a developing a career path for themselves to follow.

Career Path

Why career paths are a mistake

A career path is a described as a series of jobs or roles that you can take to develop your career. The goal is generally to achieve higher paying jobs each time you take a new role. However, you don’t have control over the jobs that are available to you at each point in your career.

What happens when you are ready for the next step in your path, and no one is hiring for that role? You get stuck. What happens when your chosen career path becomes obsolete because of changes in technology advancement? You become obsolete too.

Career paths are outdated

We live in a changing world. You can’t predict what jobs will be available in ten years. How can you plan a career path to get a job that is completely invisible to you?

For the last few generations, developing a career path was good advice. Unfortunately, now it’s outdated advice. Students graduating in 2020 will enter a work world that we can’t predict today (and it’s already 2017). Self-driving cars. Massive automation in retail. Manufacturing and logistics with robotics. We simply can’t know what the future holds. How can you plan a path when you don’t know where you are going?

Plan to navigate off the path

Career Path

It can be helpful to imagine a career path as an actual path over real landscape so you can get an idea of how career development has to change. In the past, you could look at a map, plan out your waypoints and goals. You could even plan for arrival times.

On a real path, you might look at your watch and think, “we are moving slower than we planned, we better walk faster so we can get to the end of this hike before the sun goes down.”

Imagine the current career landscape to be one without a visible path. Technology has created fast growing plants that change the landscape while you walk. A path might have been visible when you started, but it’s overgrown with vegetation now, and it’s impractical to try to follow old paths, now gone. You don’t know where your goal is and you definitely don’t know how to get there.

New ways of planning goals

Goals are still your waypoints. Except we have to adopt new methods of goal setting. Goals must be independent of the landscape since the landscape is rapidly changing. Instead of a goal like, “Get promoted to manager in my company by the time I’m 32,” goals are more like, “Learn and apply a new skill set in a professional setting by the time I’m 32.”

The best career development skill you can master is that of achievable goal setting.

  • Choose goals that are within your control. “Get promoted” is not within your control. “Learn and apply knowledge” is within your control.
  • Avoid artificially limiting the circumstances under which your goal can be achieved. “Manager in my company” limits your achievement to a specific company. “In a professional setting” allows you to achieve your goal in any company.
  • Time frames are still important. Although the landscape is rapidly shifting, time has not changed. Make sure you put a deadline on your goals so that you know when it’s time to hurry up.

via Business 2 Community : Early career planning can prevent employee disengagement

Our professional lives are full of important transitional periods that should be handled with careful preparation. Early transitions include graduating from high school and leaving for college. Both of these are preparatory steps that eventually lead you into a fulfilling career.

Career planning begins with an awareness of your talents and interests. You should take the time to ask yourself a variety of self-reflecting questions, including the following:

What skills do I already have?

Do I possess any special talents that might be valuable in a specific industry?

Are there any fields that I am fascinated to learn more about?

Where would I be proud to be employed?

Which career best aligns with my long-term goals?

It’s perfectly fine if your professional interests and hobbies intersect. For example, if you’re an artist and aspire toward practicing your chosen artform professionally, then your interests and professional pursuits have aligned.

This is not absolutely necessary, but it is ideal to begin with an idea of what you’ll be passionate about. Think about what you would still enjoy doing five or ten years from now. If you despised everything about your customer service job in high school, chances are likely that you should avoid affiliated career paths and degrees.

Dedicating time toward personal development and goal-setting before you enter college will give you a leg up over peers who take longer to commit toward a particular field of study. Look to your future and spend time reflecting on your educational and professional aspirations.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll on employee engagement, only 32 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. The reasons for this are varied, but the fulfillment any job brings is certainly a factor and highlights the importance of caring about the work we do. Many millennials value leadership based on the core values of engagement and collaboration, so it is important to seek out opportunities that provide both. Perpetuating our own career unhappiness should be avoided whenever possible. Finding that passion for your career can even lead you into a different field entirely.

If you’re already out in the workforce and want to change industries, your situation has inherent advantages and disadvantages. You will likely possess more experience and perhaps you have already built secondary connections in the industry you’d like to join. On the other hand, you may lack the necessary experience and skills to compete with your peers. To overcome this obstacle requires demonstrating your value.

When approaching positions in a different field, presenting a tailored resume is the key. You can include positions in technically unrelated fields, but use this as an opportunity to highlight a specific skill or experience that is applicable to this position. Nearly anything can become applicable if approached from a relevancy-first mindset.

Perhaps as a project manager for a small startup you helped design and order brochures or other printed company materials. Definitely mention this if you’re applying for a publishing or graphic design position. You could also use how you handled a specific project or problem in an unrelated field as an example of how you perform under pressure. It’s all about how you frame your response. To convince a hiring manager that you want and deserve to be there, you must genuinely want the position.

The bottom line is that choosing a career requires looking inward at what motivates and drives us. Don’t arbitrarily choose a career path that doesn’t align to your interests and talents. Our workforce already has enough disengaged workers. Demonstrate how much you value yourself by choosing to pursue a career that you’ll be fulfilled and engaged in even a decade from now.