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Career Planning Process

Via Forbes : Self-Career Development: Three Strategies To Accelerate Your Career

For the first time in 24 years, Bill Gates is no longer the wealthiest living American. Jeff Bezos, the centibillionaire founder of Amazon, has ascended to that enviable position of power.

Bezos’ path was supported by a myriad of advisers. He was mentored by the legendary Bill Campbell, a former Columbia University football player, coach, and trustee who served as the CEO of Intuit. Campbell also counted Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin among his impressive cohort of mentees.

These mentor relationships demonstrate that these ultimately high-powered corporate leaders were not content to passively let their careers “happen.” Instead, they invested in developing themselves through coaching and other means outside their organizations — and they achieved paramount success.

In an age of frequent job hopping, where employers demonstrate hesitancy to invest in developing individual employees who are likely to leave before a return on learning is realized, self-career development is an increasingly important component of individuals’ success in the workplace. For ambitious employees, self-development is an effective way, and, in some cases the only way, to hasten progress along the career ladder. As an ardent advocate of professional learning, I recommend the following tactics to assume control of your development and accelerate your career:

1. Put Strategy First

At photography stalwart Kodak, the median job tenure is approximately 20 years, according to a 2013 Payscale report. In stark contrast, at technology powerhouse Google, the tenure is slightly more than a year. Millennials are switching jobs at unprecedented rates and no longer depend on a pre-established career track to advance to higher level positions.

When combined with the fact that one third of employees report that their bosses do not assist with career development, it is apparent that today’s workers must be proactive. Rather than assuming ascent along a regimented career ladder – as prior generations may have done – employees today must be strategic about what can be gained from each position. Focus on attaining marketable skills, gaining experience with employers whose names stand out on a resume, and, most importantly, building a robust stable of supporters.

One way for professionals to supercharge their networks is to find a mentor—as many successful entrepreneurs have done. According to a survey by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the top three benefits to mentees are professional development, a better understanding of organizational culture, and the development of new perspectives.

While more than half the mentees ATD surveyed credited formal mentoring programs for helping them meet their goals to a “high” or “very high” extent, fewer than one-third of the businesses actually offer formal mentoring programs. In the absence of workplace mentorship programs, rising employees, by necessity, must be the architects of their own futures.

Thinking expansively about mentorship can widen the pool of potential mentors, and diversify organizational experiences and perspectives, that comprise a mentee’s career. Mentors need not be senior leaders; a mentor can be a co-worker just a few years ahead on the career ladder, or even a peer or junior colleague. As long at the mentor has teachable skills and a willingness to partake in knowledge transfer and network building, mentorship can have profoundly positive career impacts.

2. Become Your Own CMO

Modern-day career trajectories are intricately tied to how we are represented in, and by, data—especially online. Human resources departments scan applicants’ resumes for keywords. Recruiters actively search for targeted matches on LinkedIn. Google searches are certainly the default mechanism for identifying potential hires. It is, therefore, vital for employees to make their data available — and to make it shine.

Today’s workers must become their own “Chief Marketing Officer,” constantly analyzing, refining and improving the way they appear in the job market. One of the best approaches to gain a competitive advantage and improve one’s market image is through education—and many options are available.

Shorter-term educational opportunities include informative webinars, weekend workshops, and MOOCs (massive open online courses). For those seeking more in-depth development opportunities, professionally-focused degree programs (such as the master’s degrees at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies) and corporate in-house programs (including BP’s) represent high quality options that provide valuable skills and knowledge as well as marketable credentials.

Further underscoring the importance of an employee’s online presence, credentialing is increasingly taking electronic form. Certified electronic transcripts of coursework completed — and even electronic versions of diplomas — are becoming more prevalent. For example, users who have completed a LinkedIn course can now opt to have the qualification appear on their profiles.

3. Ask for Feedback — Even If It’s Negative

It is indisputable that artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technological advancements will revolutionize the employment market and recast jobs in unforeseen ways. Yet, even if certain jobs are upended or transformed, market trends indicate that employees with soft skills and emotional intelligence will be the most likely to succeed in the changing workplace.

A 2016 World Economic Forum report predicted that emotional intelligence will be one of the most vital job skills in 2020. Another study revealed that, of the eight most important qualities of successful Google employees, STEM ability ranked last after an array of soft skills, including coaching skills, empathy, and problem solving ability.

Ascertaining strengths and weaknesses in soft skills is a critical first step to making improvements, and the best way for individuals to gauge their current proficiency is to ask others for feedback. My Columbia colleague, leading learning-agility researcher Dr. W. Warner Burke, recommends that “seeking feedback of how you’re doing — regardless of how threatening the action might be to one’s self-esteem” is vital to career development.

Gallup reports that only 15% of millennial employees routinely ask for such feedback consistently. The small percentage who are willing to have difficult conversations are likely those who are most receptive to changing their behaviors and, I predict, likely to demonstrate the most success in the coming decades.

In contrast to the 1950s ideal of the “company man”, where hard work and loyalty to one firm led to promotion over time, today’s workplace expects greater individuality, creativity, and flexibility from employees. Today, rising to leadership positions requires employees to craft their own self-career development strategies. The stories of Jeff Bezos and other corporate leaders illustrate the power of identifying suitable mentors, gaining feedback, shaping a public persona, and building key leadership skills to accelerate career growth. These valuable lessons can be applied by all professionals who aspire to higher levels of leadership and will reliably fuel their career rise.

Via Reflektive : 5 Tips to Prepare for a Career-Growth Conversation

With companies increasingly concerned with employee engagement, career development meetings have become more common. Career development itself has changed significantly over the last few decades. Gone are the days where a career path was a straight line up the corporate ladder; today’s employees favor opportunities to increase their skills and usefulness as much as (or more than) promotions.

The modern workplace offers ample opportunity for skill-based career growth. Today’s companies tend to have a flatter structure, with more importance given to collaboration between teams than direct lines of command from the CEO on down. An employee can build a solid, rewarding career without any vertical movement–an ideal situation for those employees who have no interest in assuming managerial positions.

Career development meetings provide clarity and guidance to help employees reach career goals–when handled correctly. While managers play important roles in career development, the primary responsibility lies with the employee. A little preparation will help you get the most out of your next career meeting, whether it’s part of your annual performance review or a specially scheduled meeting with the boss.

Memory is Fallible: Take Notes

Even if your manager favors frequent, informal one-on-one meetings, you’ll only have the opportunity to discuss career development a few times a year. Will you be able to accurately remember all your accomplishments and concerns between meetings?

Keeping a career journal ensures you’ll have accurate information at your fingertips when you meet with your manager. It’s an excellent way to recap your accomplishments, record potential career development discussion questions as they come to you, and note areas where you need to develop your skills. Your journal can be a Google Doc, a note on your phone, or a physical book–all can be used to make sure you don’t miss anything important from one career development meeting to the next.

Set the Agenda

The tone of career development meetings is generally set by the employee rather than the manager. Take full advantage of this by creating an agenda before each meeting. Use your career journal to identify points for discussion, including updates on any career development plans decided on during your last meeting, your recent accomplishments and triumphs, and any areas where you see a need for improvement.

Send the agenda to your manager in advance of the meeting, and ask him if he has anything to add to the agenda. Doing so demonstrates your initiative while also considering his perspective.

Anticipate Questions

Your manager will have her own thoughts, suggestions, and opinions about your career path. Try to anticipate her concerns before the meeting. Consider the types of questions she’s likely to ask and practice answering them. Suggest career development discussion questions as part of your agenda, so you both know what topics will be discussed.

While it sounds silly, practicing your responses with a friend as your audience helps you get your thoughts in order and prepare for the meeting. Practicing in front of a mirror also helps–and gives you a chance to check your body language.

Understand the Three C’s

To get the most out of your career development meeting, consider the three C’s: context, congruence, and competencies:

Context requires you to examine your career aspirations in light of your organization’s culture. Use career discussion meetings to find out what it takes to move forward in the company, who assigns staff to projects, who makes promotion decisions, and how to best focus your efforts.

Congruence refers to how well your career goals mesh with company goals. When an employee’s career path complements company goals, everyone wins. Managers are much more likely to support your aspirations if they can see how the company benefits.

Competencies are the skills and knowledge you need to further your career path. Identifying skill gaps, seeking developmental opportunities, and requesting constructive feedback on your work all help build competencies.

Define Your Own Success

Career development meetings help you define and refine your personal career goals. Your definition of career success may be very different from a coworker’s. While some people still work their way up the corporate ladder and dream of management positions, others want to develop a skill set, learn more about other areas of the organization, or develop conflict resolution skills to better manage conflict within their team. Your career path is your own, and as long as you’re applying your skills in a way that benefits the company, your manager should support it.

Via The Balance : How to Make a Career Choice When You Are Undecided

With thousands of options, how will you pick a career that’s right for you? If you don’t have any idea what you want to do, the task may seem insurmountable. Fortunately, it isn’t. Put enough thought into it, and you will increase your chances of making a good decision.

01 Assess Yourself

Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself. Your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type, make some occupations a good fit for you and others completely inappropriate.

Use self-assessment tools, often called career tests, to gather information about your traits and, subsequently generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on them. Some people choose to work with a career counselor or other career development professionals who can help them navigate this process.

02 Make a List of Occupations to Explore

You probably have multiple lists of occupations in front of you at this point—one generated by each of the self-assessment tools you used. To keep yourself organized, you should combine them into one master list.

First, look for careers that appear on multiple lists and copy them onto a blank page. Title it “Occupations to Explore.” Your self-assessment ​indicated they are a good fit for you based on several of your traits, so definitely consider them.

Next, find any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. They may be careers you know a bit about and want to explore further. Also, include professions about which you don’t know much. You might learn something unexpected. Add those to your master list.

03 Explore the Occupations on Your List

Now get some basic information about each of the occupations on your list. You will be thrilled you managed to narrow your list down to only 10 to 20 options!

Find job descriptions and educational, training and licensing requirements in published sources. Learn about advancement opportunities. Use government-produced labor market information to get data about earnings and job outlook.

04 Create a “Short List”

At this point, start to narrow down your list even more. Based on what you learned from your research so far, begin eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue any further. You should end up with fewer than two to five occupations on your “short list.”

If your reasons for finding a career unacceptable are non-negotiable, cross it off your list. Remove everything with duties that don’t appeal to you. Eliminate careers that have weak job outlooks. Get rid of any occupation if you are unable to or unwilling to fulfill the educational or other requirements, or if you lack some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in it.

05 Conduct Informational Interviews

When you have only a few occupations left on your list, start doing more in-depth research. Arrange to meet with people who work in the occupations in which you are interested. They can provide firsthand knowledge about the careers on your short list. Access your network, including LinkedIn, to find people with whom to have these informational interviews.

06 Make Your Career Choice

Finally, after doing all your research, you are probably ready to make your choice. Pick the occupation that you think will bring you the most satisfaction based on all the information you have gathered. Realize that you are allowed do-overs if you change your mind about your choice at any point in your life. Many people change their careers at least a few times.

07 Identify Your Goals

Once you make a decision, identify your long- and short-term goals. Doing this will allow you to eventually work in your chosen field. Long-term goals typically take about three to five years to reach, while you can usually fulfill a short-term goal in six months to three years.

Let the research you did about required education and training be your guide. If you don’t have all the details, do some more research. Once you have all the information you need, set your goals. An example of a long-term goal would be completing your education and training. Short-term goals include applying to college, apprenticeships, or other training programs, and doing internships.

08 Write a Career Action Plan

Put together a career action plan, a written document that lays out all the steps you will have to take to reach your goals. Think of it as a roadmap that will take you from point A to B, and then to C and D. Write down all your short- and long-term goals and the steps you will have to take to reach each one. Include any anticipated barriers that could get in the way of achieving your goals and the ways you can overcome them.

Via The Balance : 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 in investing in 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Career paths are recommended for the same reason that goals are recommended. They are the written plan that can help each employee take charge of 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:

  1. “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.
  2. “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.
  3. “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.
  4. “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.
  5. “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?

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.

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