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Career Planning Process

Via Forbes : 3 Steps To Develop Your Career Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

If you’re anything like the average working person, you can expect to change careers five to seven times in your life. That’s a lot of change… The best way to be prepared for it is to make a plan!

Having a career plan is vital to your career success. The most successful people, such as Tim Ferriss, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, all regularly come up with plans for their career success… And look where it’s gotten them!

Here are the three steps you can take right now to develop a career plan to catapult you to success.

1. Self-reflection.

It’s easy to neglect reflecting on your career when you’re so busy chugging along, but taking the time to think about your current situation and the path you want to be on is crucial to a productive career plan. Research even shows reflection is key to success, and it increases productivity and performance.

Besides reflecting on your career path, you should also reflect on yourself and your values, skills and passions. When you begin to understand yourself and what you want, you’ll be able to more easily create a plan that suits your goals and your lifestyle.

2. Goal setting.

Self-reflection will lead you to identifying what kind of career you want. Now it’s time to figure out how to get there. Setting goals is the key to a successful career plan. But what kind of goals should you create?

You probably already know about SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound goals that all set you up for success in your goal setting and achievement. In fact, studies show SMART goals really do work. But in order to be successful, you need to write them down and share them with a friend or a coworker. Seventy-six percent of study participants who set SMART goals wrote them down and shared them with a friend achieved their goals. Sharing your goals creates a sense of accountability, and writing down your goals cements them in your long-term memory, so they’re always accessible and locked in to your subconscious.

3. Develop a plan.

So, you know yourself and what you want to do, and you have your goals set and written down. Now it’s time to really dig into developing a plan to get there. This is the point in your career planning where you should know your interests and skills, and start figuring out what you need to do to get where you want to go. Yes, it’s time to make career decisions.

Maybe you want to get some more experience before you put yourself on the job market, or maybe it just comes down to a choice between two different careers. Whatever your decision needs to be, this is the time to make it, so you can solidify your career plan and embark on your path. Here are some ways you can make those difficult decisions:

Make a pros and cons list.
Evaluate how each path aligns with your values.
Think about the future consequences of each path.

Where do you stand when it comes to your career? Are you ready to make a change, or start your journey, today? Whether you’re just beginning on your career journey, or you’re considering changing career paths or jobs, developing an effective career plan will help you get to where you need to go. Reflect, set goals and make your decision, and you’ll find yourself on the right path.

Via Chime : Why Career Planning is Important and How to Do It

Millennials are more than three times as likely to switch jobs than older generations, according to a recent poll by Gallup. But with all the job hopping going on, it can be difficult to craft a long-term career strategy.

A solid career plan is important in that it can provide a roadmap for your future. This, in turn, helps you make informed choices about your current job situation as well as future career moves. A broader career plan is also important when it comes to helping you stay inspired.

Interested in creating your own career plan? Here are three reasons why you may want to do this right now.

1. You’ll leverage your strengths

People who tap into their strengths at work are six times more likely to be engaged, according to Gallup. So, if you want to enjoy your career and collaborate more with your co-workers, it’s key that you understand what your strengths are. Once you know this, you can leverage those strengths.

If you’re now thinking that this flies in the face of the common advice that you should work on improving weaknesses, well, that’s important as well. Yet, when it comes to enhancing your career, focusing on your weaknesses shouldn’t be your main strategy, according to BiggerPockets.com.

2. You’ll take steps in the right direction

No one is going to develop your career for you, and a successful career doesn’t happen by chance. In order to succeed, you’ll need to know where you want to go. This way you can work on developing skills to help you achieve your milestones.

For example, if you’re a customer service agent but want to become the CEO of the company, you need to know what steps it takes to get there. For example, it can start with becoming a supervisor then working your way up to a team manager. From there, you may want to develop additional skills so that you can jump from middle management to the executive team, and so on.

When you have a career plan in place, you will be more apt to take steps in the right direction. With this mindset, you’ll also be less likely to blame external forces when things don’t pan out as you planned. Instead, you can take a step back, make a course correction and get back on track!

3. You’ll develop more confidence

If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up lost or in the wrong place. In addition, if you don’t have a clear goal in mind, it’s harder to gain the self-confidence needed to take advantage of opportunities when they appear.

For example, if you want to become a team manager but you have no plan to achieve this goal, you may not be prepared to compete with others for the job. This, in turn, can be disheartening. Bottom line: you need a plan to both give you a direction and a sense of purpose in your daily work life. This makes it easier to be intentional about your work. For example, if your goal is to replace your manager when she gets a promotion, you may choose to ask her to mentor you. This then becomes part of your career plan.

Three tips for creating your best career plan

Now that you understand why it’s a good idea to have a career plan, let’s discuss how to go about putting it into place. Take a look at these three steps and you’ll be on your way.

1. Think big

Don’t sell yourself short with your career plan. If you don’t currently have the skills necessary to land your dream job, that shouldn’t stop you from aiming for this goal. Plus, by looking at your written out plan, you may gain more motivation.

Also, don’t restrict your career plan to your current job or path. If your dream job entails doing something that isn’t related to your current career at all, spell out the steps that it would take to make the switch.

2. Define your strengths and what you enjoy

Building wealth is a main motivator when it comes to career planning. With that said, money shouldn’t be your main objective. Why? Focusing on money alone can lead to an unhappy job experience and early burnout.

Instead, focus on what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at. If you’re having a hard time pinpointing your talents and what you love about your job, don’t be afraid to ask family members, friends, or even a trusted co-worker. They may have some insight based on past conversations.

This exercise may shed some light on talents you weren’t aware you had. Better yet, you may discover that there aspects of your current job that you want to carry over to your next position – regardless of whether it leads to a windfall of money in the form of a higher salary.

3. Be adaptable

There’s no guarantee that your career will turn out exactly as you planned. Another thing to note: as you take steps toward your dream job, you may notice your preferences have changed over time. So, don’t be afraid to adjust your career plan. Doing this doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on your dreams. It simply means that you’re recalibrating.

When I first graduated from college, my goal was to start at the bottom of a large corporation and work my way to the top. But when I couldn’t find a job for six months, I had to come up with a different plan. Instead, I got an entry-level job at a bank and started blogging about personal finance in my spare time. While I didn’t make much money from the blog itself, it launched me in a different direction. My writing career was born.

As you go through your own planning process, you can determine what to tweak and what to keep status quo. An added perk: if you remain adaptable, you may be surprised at the doors that open for you. Perhaps you’ll even find yourself in a brand new career. When and if this happens, you may want to go back to your original career plan and add in new goals.

The bottom line

Career planning is important because it can help you leverage your strengths and build confidence. More importantly, it encourages you to take ownership of your career. The guidelines here are just that: guidelines. You can use these tips and tools to help you create the best navigation system for you. Are you ready to map out your career path and enjoy the journey?

Via Medium : Beginners Guide to Career Planning

“How do you plan for a career when you are not even sure what you are good at?”

We have all been there in university/college and your successful relatives promise you to put in a word to the hiring managers of a top company, “Just finish” is all they say. You finish and then they tell you “just finish NYSC” and some start to disappear from there. Then it dawns on you that you have been played.

But what can you do as a graduate? This is where you need to draw up a plan. This is a career plan. Career planning is an ongoing process that can help you manage your learning and development. I used ongoing because career planning is a continuous process and should be evaluated on a yearly basis.

There are 4 critical steps in planning your career as a beginner;

Step 1: Self Evaluation and Reflection
Step 2: Exploration
Step 3: Decision Making and Goal Setting
Step 4: Taking Action and Implementing

So lets take a deep dive into the 4 critical steps in planning your career

Self Evaluation and Reflection: The first step in career planning should be to gather information about yourself to assist in making a decision about a career choice. Thinking about where you are now, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Once you have thought about where you are at now and where you want to be, you can work on getting to know your skills, interests and values. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What am I interested in?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • Where am I at now?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • What do I want out of a job or career?
  • What is important to me?
  • What are the opportunities open to me?
  • What are the threats to those opportunities?

At the end of this step you will have a clearer idea of your work or learning goal and your individual preferences. You can use this information about yourself as your personal ‘wish list’ against which you can compare all the information you gathered in the other steps. To help you do this here is a template of a Personal Development Plan “A” you can use.

Exploration: The second step in career planning is to explore and research your options. Exploring takes your self-assessment a step further by looking at your personal interests, skills, values, and work-life needs and narrowing down areas of possibilities. Once you have some idea of your occupational preferences you can research the specific skills and qualifications required for those occupations.

  • Explore occupations that interest you and ask yourself how do my skills and interests match up with these occupations?
  • Where are the gaps?
  • What options do I have to gain these skills or qualify for these occupations?
  • What skills do I need?
  • Where is the work?

At the end of this step you will have a list of preferred occupations and/or learning options to gain the required skills for the preferred occupation. To help you do this here is a template of a Personal Development Plan “B” you can use.

Decision Making and Goal Setting: After having completed your self-assessment and explored your options you should be ready to make some career decisions. The question now is how you will decide. Start by comparing your options, narrowing down your choices and thinking about what suits you best at this point in time.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my best training options?
  • How do they match with my skills, interests and values?
  • How do they fit with my current situation and responsibilities?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What will help and what will hinder me?
  • What can I do about it?

By doing this step you will have narrowed down your options and have more of an idea of what you need to do next to help you achieve your career goals.

Taking Action and Implementing: Here you plan the steps you need to take to put your plan into action. Use all you have learnt about your skills, interests and values together with the information you have gathered about the world of work to create your plan.

Begin by asking yourself:

  • What actions/steps will help me achieve my work, training and career goals?
  • Where can I get help?
  • Who will support me?

At the end of this step you will have:

a plan to help you explore your options further (eg work experience, work shadowing such as internships, trainings, certifications or more research); or
a plan which sets out the steps to help you achieve your next learning or work goal.

Decide which step is relevant for you right now and start from there.You should also continue to evaluate your options and make adjustments as needed.

The above steps helped me in planning my career and transitioning form a computer scientist to a human resource professional and now to a tech community manager. At every point, I did a SWOT analysis of myself, sourced for roles that would enhance my strength and mirror my interests, drew up a learning plan to acquire the skills I was lacking for each role before applying for any job. This has helped me in getting jobs in organisations like Andela , Access Bank Plc and Phillips Consulting.

Via Daily Monitor : Why you need a career plan

Innocent Mukasa is a graduate of psychiatric nursing from Butabika School of Psychiatric Nursing. Though he had always seen himself pursuing a career in psychiatry after school, that has since changed.

“I do not think that is a field I would want to work in in the future. The truth is, I do not know what I want to do, though I can take a psychiatric job if I got one,” he confesses.

Like many graduates, Mukasa is waiting for that job, not because it will further his career goals, plans and aspirations, but because getting a job is what he is expected to do as a new graduate.

To many students, the plan is to finish school and get a job. There is no consideration to career planning, and as the cliché goes: failure to plan is planning to fail.

Think beyond ‘now’

In her article on career planning in The Guardian, Penny de Valk, chief executive of Cedar (UK), a leadership and management consultancy, writes: Career planning means thinking big while also being prepared for slow-burn development and responding to opportunities that come up. Luck favours the well prepared. The more you know what you are good at, what kind of work you want to be doing and how you will make a difference, the clearer the opportunities will become.

Noeline Muhumuza, a freelance career guidance counsellor shares that having a career plan helps one to have a clear mind on where they want to go, the requirements for getting there and the means to get there.

“Breaking down career planning into these categories can help you stay focused on the career road. Though requirements and means may change with time, the goal ought to remain clear. That is what keeps you going. Nevertheless, some people, besides the time and requirements, also find reason to shift the goal.”

Have a professional goal

A career goal does not necessarily have to be in your professional field. Muhumuza says, “It is more about what you are passionate about. It is bigger than your current highly paying job; it is what you want to be and the impact you want to make in the world.”

David Mulindwa, the head of career development at Right Care Schools, Entebbe Campus, notes that, unfortunately, many people think about career goals when writing a curriculum vitae (CV) or when pushed in a tight corner during a job interview.

“However, this is something one needs to be clear about even before they join university so that their education is relevant to their career goals.”

Requirements and means.

Additionally, Muhumuza shares that requirements refer to the skills, talents, experiences, knowledge and knowhow that one needs to achieve their goals.

“This therefore, means that one seizes opportunities and chances to acquire skills and applies these skills to gain the experiences that will help push them forward,” she says, adding that this does not come easy because one needs, resilience, perseverance and a degree of aggressiveness to get what they want.

Means, on the other hand, are the ways, bridges, paths that one forges to achieve a career goal. This might mean working a job that may not be the best to get the skills and expertise you need. It could mean waiting patiently to climb through the career ladder to gain the needed experience.”

Samuel A. Bakutana, a leadership consultant and chief executive officer of Inspired Leaders International, says, the bigger picture is always the real picture and should always be a major point of focus.

“Career planning or having career goals changes one’s focus from earning daily bread to the long term bigger picture of their contribution on earth. Since goals are basically dreams with deadlines, one needs to first have career dreams for the future and then break them into goals.”
Bakutana adds that when someone has career goals, they give the person a reason to work harder. Career goals also enable an employee to know the appropriate workplace and decide who should be in their professional circle of friends. Pursuing a clear future gives one energy for living.

Via The Balance Careers : 5 Tips to Improve Your Career Development

You Owe Yourself a Career Development Action Plan.

Career management isn’t just a nice-to-do, it’s a must do, if you expect to gain maximum success and happiness from the hours you invest in work. Face it, you are likely going to work 40 hours a week for your entire adult life. Why not make them the best 40 hours that you can create?

Career management in which you plan and work to obtain new skills, capabilities, and experiences, is the answer. Share your goals with your boss and you have created a partner who can help you broaden your experience.

You are chock full of talents and skills. Continuing their development will stretch your world and enable more of your unique contribution. This, in turn, will make your career success and progress a cornerstone in your fully-developed life. Does your world get any better than this? Not really.

Career Growth and Development Opportunities

When most employees think about their careers, they have not thought past their current job or the next promotion that they’d like to receive. They need to broaden their short-term thinking. As employees are promoted up the organization chart, fewer jobs become available, yet continuing to grow skills and experience should still be a priority for people obtaining value from and adding value to their career.

You can continue to experience career growth by taking the lead on your career development and progress. Here are a few ways in which you can collaborate with your boss to manage your career.

  • Job shadow other employees in your company to learn about different jobs.
  • Explore lateral moves to broaden and deepen your experience.
  • Attend classes and training sessions to increase your knowledge.
  • Hold book clubs at work to develop knowledge, and share terminology, concepts, and team building with coworkers.
  • Seek a mentor from a different department that you’d like to explore.

5 Tips for Career Growth and Development

Here are additional thoughts about career management. Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Vice President and Managing Director of Apollo Research Institute and Visiting Scholar in Stanford University’s Media X program, recommends five additional career management strategies.

  • Could your career development and management use help to gain momentum? People who are the most successful and satisfied in their careers have proactively determined what they want from work. Once they’ve decided on their goals, they make a plan to accomplish the goals.
  • Developing a timeline with career goals and expected milestones is also an effective way to manage your career. Bringing your boss and his or her sponsorship and mentoring into the picture will ensure that you have an internal mentor who will help you manage your career.
  • Some companies have formal programs to help employees develop their careers. In others, you will need to informally pursue your career development. Companies with programs generally focus energy on helping employees develop and follow a career path.
  • The career path is discussed at several meetings bi-annually with the employee’s boss. The company doesn’t own the career path; the employee does. But, the company demonstrates its deep commitment to its employees by assisting where possible with resources of time and dollars.
  • Career paths are recommended for the same reason that goals are recommended. They are the written plan that can help each employee focus on what is most important to his or her fulfillment and success. Without a plan, you can feel rudderless and you have no benchmark against which you can measure your progress.

5 Tips for Strategic Career Management

Dr. Tracey Wilen, Vice President and Managing Director of Apollo Research Institute and Visiting Scholar in Stanford University’s Media X program, recommends these additional career management strategies.

“Succeeding in a demanding, changing workplace requires a strategic career management plan. Employers want to attract, hire and retain employees who provide the best value. So consider yourself a business with a product to sell, and create a strategy for marketing your workplace value.

“Data from the Apollo Research Institute on the future of education, work and careers suggest the following five career management strategies:

  • “Proactively engage your manager in a discussion about your career goals, and collaborate to create a career development plan. The most significant opportunity to exert influence is to involve your manager in the career planning process.
  • “Investigate short- and long-term skill requirements. If your goal is to become the Vice President of Human Resources, understand the education, skills, technology, and experience requirements, and develop interim career plans for achieving your long-term career goal.
  • “To increase your knowledge of career options, request one-on-one informational meetings with colleagues and managers. The purpose of these brief meetings is to gather information to help you make educated career decisions. People are generally willing to share their success stories and advice.
  • “Volunteer to complete challenging projects and assignments. One of the best ways to advance your career is to identify an organizational problem and propose a solution. By offering to implement the solution, you will not only increase your visibility as a problem-solver in the organization, but you might also expand your skills in the process.
  • “Consult the Human Resources department to learn about career development and job opportunities such as tuition reimbursement for a college degree or certification, in-house technical or professional training courses and available job openings. Take advantage of available opportunities. Maintain your momentum and commit to continuous skill building and improvement. By planning your career strategy, you are increasing your chances of staying employable and achieving your long-term career goals.”

Each of us has a certain number of years to invest in working and making a living. Having a job is fine, but creating a career will maximize your opportunities for success. To have a successful career requires that you pursue career management strategies like these.

A successful career doesn’t happen unthinkingly. It needs planning, tending, and frequent review. Are you ready to pursue these career development strategies?

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