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Future Plan

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 Top Resume : How to Apply the Self-Improvement Movement to Your Career Success

Daily progress in your career development is more important than any big singular breakthrough. What you need to know.

The self-improvement genre is exploding these days. That’s good news for the masses, and it’s good news for everybody thinking about advancing or switching their careers.

Why? You don’t need to be a reader of Success magazine (or the website’s career section) to know the world of self-improvement has so much to teach us about career growth. From employment searches and interview skills to goal-setting and purposeful advancement, the on-the-job applications from this industry/movement are endless and there are lessons for everyone.

Goal-setting.

Let’s start with goals. The first thing every self-help guru will tell you is you need to know where you’re going. Then you need to write it down. So, determine your current goal(s) for career success. Is it to start working for Company X? Learn a role in a certain field? Study under a specific type of professional? Increase your responsibilities (along with the chances for a promotion)? Whatever the aim, write it down, then tell at least 5 other people about it. The very acts of documenting and sharing your career goal will help to solidify your resolve to achieve it.

If you want to go bigger with 3-, 5- and 10-year plans, you can try, although some experts think with today’s rates of change those distant timeframes should best be left vague so you can adapt goals when the world inevitably tilts another direction. The key is to think big and long-term, then write down the steps to getting there.

Job searching.

Job searching is a ‘numbers game.’ What do I mean? It’s all about volume. Just as a salesperson obsesses over keeping their pipeline full and working all the leads, you too need to be applying for multiple jobs and talking to even more people as you network and potentially shadow role models on the job.

Also like a salesperson, you can’t take rejection personally because you know that some people are just not the right buyer … or just aren’t ready to buy. Either way, you believe each rejection is getting you closer to the right job, and you appreciate the opportunity to practice your skills (e.g., skills used in the application process, interview presentation, job researching) along the way.

Ultimately, looking at the job search as a numbers game means you won’t dwell too long on any particular opening. It means you take your ego out of it when an employer rejects you because you know it’s their loss. It means you have several options going at once, always setting up the next interview, sending out the next application, or going to the next job fair. Keeping up with regular, job-search activity increases your odds and keeps yourself balanced if any one of them doesn’t work out.

Interviewing.

The old cliché ‘practice makes perfect’ is well, perfect, for emphasizing how to ace job interviews. You need to sell yourself, and the best sales presentation starts with diligent preparation. By working on your ‘sales pitch’ every day, you hone your interview skills the same way Jeff Olson of The Slight Edge would recommend: One step at a time, consistently. Over the long haul this consistency accumulates into a critical mass of momentum, what Olson calls ‘the edge.’

Even if you don’t have an interview on any given day, you can still strengthen your skills by role-playing with a friend or former colleague, practicing alone in front of a mirror, or writing down and memorizing your best answers to common questions (e.g., “Describe one of your weaknesses,” “Tell me how you responded to one of your biggest challenges,” “Tell me about yourself”). Continuous improvement is the name of the game here.

An often-forgotten part of interviewing is that it provides an opportunity for you the candidate to say no to an employer. So many of us fear rejection going into the process, thinking that the evaluation is only one-way; remember, it’s a two-way street! Rejecting the wrong company is as important as finding the right one, and there’s power in holding the ‘rejection’ card.

In fact, when you determine a company is not the right fit for you during the preliminary hiring stages, it’s your obligation to reject it. You owe it to yourself. On the first date that is a job interview, you have every right to walk away afterwards with no obligation if you don’t like what you see. This is also a skill: Identifying the right fit for your talents and conversely, avoiding the bad fits.

Purposeful advancement.

What self-help coaches invariably preach is the power of being well-read. Being well-read gives you a more grounded life (and keener intelligence), which also applies directly to your career. Whether cultivating a reading habit means keeping up with industry news/opinions, world events, or trade publications, or letting your imagination roam with novels or subjects you ordinarily wouldn’t encounter in your work life, the goal is to be reading frequently.

A steady diet of reading broadens your perspective, gives you a more sophisticated world view, and keeps your mind sharp by allowing you to get at the heart of what matters to your employer and the people you serve. It’s hard to think of a better selling point for somebody wanting to advance in their current organization or general professional role.

Having great ideas and being savvy in your ability to think outside the box often starts with being a voracious reader and self-educator. Plus, the better you educate yourself by feeding your mind useful information, the more you add value to every project you undertake, group you join or meeting you attend.

Take small steps, not massive leaps.

To borrow again from The Slight Edge (or Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect, which carries a similar message), I’d argue making daily incremental progress in your career plans is way more important than any big singular breakthrough. Following this logic, you want to look to the future while gradually improving yourself every day … taking one step at a time to bring you closer to your current career goal, whatever it is.

I’ll leave you with this: An old saying tells us, The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

What’s your first step to career success?

Via Twin Cities : Working Strategies: Spotlight on Gen Y: Planning Your Career

Young adulthood has always been a challenging stage of development. In addition to new responsibilities and privileges, the situation comes complete with all the big life issues: Which career path to take, how much training to go for, when/whether to start a family, where to live … Exciting, yes, but also overwhelming.

For the next year, I’ll try to help by devoting the second Sunday of each month to career topics relevant to young adults roughly 25 to 35 years of age. These are the folks who have the majority of their work lives ahead of them, along with all the decisions and planning that entails.

A good way to launch this series is by providing a career-planning template that offers structure without being overly rigid. Such a tool can help you steer your career while unlocking additional advantages, such as the opportunity to link long-term goals with near-term job options, and to leverage perks like tuition reimbursement for their full value.

The process itself isn’t particularly complex or mysterious, although it does require some setup. Think of it as a kit with three pieces, similar to the simplest desk from Ikea. The pieces themselves might be put to some use individually, but they reach full utility when they’re bolted together into something larger.

I’m not sure I can stretch that metaphor much further, so let’s move ahead to those pieces.

Piece 1. Lists of your personal and professional goals.

To make each list more useful, choose items that are meaningful but also measurable. For example, “Reach a supervisory level at work” or “Purchase a house” or “Finish college” would all fit the bill, while “Succeed professionally” or “Have a happy home life” would be too vague.

Piece 2. A list of the careers or job titles you’d like to try.

Depending on your curiosity, this list could easily grow to several dozen. It’s fine to start with a long selection, but try to end the exercise with three to eight options. In this case, vague is fine. For example, if you’d like to try something in health care at some point, you don’t need to decide now which role it would be.

Piece 3. A timeline that stretches from your current age to 60 years into the future.

For flexibility, this might be best started on a long piece of paper or even a white board. Eventually you may decide to transfer it as a work-in-progress into digital form.

Putting the pieces together is the next step. I recommend dividing the timeline into five-year increments, then shading the sections that pertain to your expected worklife. Hence, a 25 year-old whose timeline extends to 85 would have 12 five-year sections marked off, with the shading extending perhaps to age 70 when she anticipates she’ll stop working.

Now the fun starts. Use a pencil to transfer items from Piece 1 (personal and professional goals) onto the timeline. Since people tend to peg their goals to their age, it helps to write those numbers along the bottom of the timeline before starting this step.

Once you have your goals organized onto the timeline, turn your attention to the career and job ideas you’ve listed for Piece 2. These you will drop onto the timeline to be conducted in five-year increments, in whatever order seems most logical. For example, if one of the jobs is physically demanding or requires extensive travel, that one might land in the first five-year segment when you’d likely be healthiest.

For the moment, it’s fine to have multiple job titles occupy the same five-year segment, or to have one title stretch over several segments. (You may decide to use sticky-notes so you can move things around easily.)

By now you’ve probably realized that a benefit of this process is its visual nature. Writing down your goals first assures they get precedence in your planning, while adding the jobs helps you recognize opportunities and risks.

For example, an education goal can be an opportunity when paired with work that offers tuition assistance, while the same goal could be at risk from a job requiring extensive travel.

To finish your career template you’ll need to settle on which jobs belong in which slots, at least for the first 10 or 15 years of the plan. Career counseling and research can help you make these choices.

Once you’ve reached this level of planning, you can set the template aside in favor of a to-do list directing your steps for the near-term goals. At this point, you’ll have absorbed the basics elements of your plan into your consciousness enough that it will be guiding you even without having to refer to it.

via Indian Express : Why it is important to plan career during school days

Every movement of the clock’s hand is a realisation that we are being ushered into a world far removed from the protected school zone. Each passing moment brings us closer to the biggest challenge of our life — entrance examinations and deciding our future path.

At this time, students like me are conflicted on how to prepare and which course they should opt later. Many try to prepare for the Board exams and entrance exams simultaneously, while others simply focus on the boards and ignore entrance exam preparation until later. I feel the former option is the best one. There is a wrong perception that competitive examinations and career options become relevant only after board exams. I have, however, seen students preparing for different careers as early as Class 9 or 10. This pushed me to look around for options for my own future.

I attended various career counselling workshops which helped me recognise the skills I would need to excel in different fields. They provided me with specific strategies to pursue a variety of career paths successfully. They even compelled me to question where I would like to study. I began to ask myself whether I wanted to study in India or pursue a course abroad. Career counselling answered many of these questions and also provided me with a list of qualifying criteria required to apply for a course at a foreign university.

I believe that students require career counselling at an early age to help them choose the right stream (science, arts or commerce) in school itself. We should be able to decide what we want to do in life by the time we leave school.

This decision does not mean that we keep only one course in mind. I feel it is equally important to have a sound back up plan just in case the career path we initially chose does not work out as we had planned. I have applied for four or five courses in universities in case I am not able to get admission into the course I desired first. I found these courses by browsing through the web.
There are multiple educational sites and professional institutions that keep us in touch with the latest alerts on registration dates, application submissions and selection procedures. With the dawn of technology where all the information is accessible with just a click of the mouse, we are reaping rich dividends by being mentally alert to cope with the twin pressure of board as well as competitive examination. I have been practising various sample papers of different entrance examinations and trying to get a feel of the actual test for which I have to appear.

Another thing that students require at this stage in their life is lots of support from parents, teachers and well-wishers. For students like me, these people play a crucial role by beating back stress and motivating us from time to time. Parents and teachers need to keep and eye on our schedules and mentor us when we need encouragement. Parental guidance is one of the most vital elements for the choices we make.

I feel that when a student develops a clear career path, things get much easier. Knowing what we can do in the future relieves us of some of the pressure that piles on at the end of our school life and helps us fare better in the boards and helps us better tackle any entrance exam or hurdle that life may throw in our paths.

via T&D : Students urged to plan for future

A veteran of the tech industry is encouraging high school students to prepare for their careers now.

“You’re going to put your plan in place right now,” Scott McGregor told students Thursday. McGregor is a global program manager within the World-Wide Sales Training organization at Cisco. “Nobody’s going to give you anything because you were raised in a single-family home, nobody’s going to give you anything because you’re black, nobody’s going to give you anything because you’re poor,” he said.

McGregor spoke to more than 150 high school seniors from Orangeburg and Calhoun counties who attended a youth forum on Thursday at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. McGregor encouraged the students to take advantage of their schools’ career service departments to begin applying for internships.

“You’re going to go right to that career services and say, ‘I want to talk about internships,’” he said. Taking steps early allows students to stand out from their competitors. “When you start early as a freshman, realize that in two or three years, however long it takes you to get that degree, you’re going to get that job,” McGregor said. He advised students to watch what they post to social media sites. “You need to start guarding your integrity and start guarding your personal life right now,” he said. “The entire world doesn’t need to know your business.”

McGregor said businesses use social media to research potential employees before hiring.

“You don’t want to give anybody the opportunity to keep you from doing what you want to do because they think they know you,” he said. “Don’t let people say who you are or what you’re about because you’re from Orangeburg, or because you’re from Aiken, or because you’re from Manning.” “You write your story,” he added. “Today is today, and you are in control of everything, and every decision, and every step you take from today and today forward.”

The annual Youth Forum was sponsored this year by the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, the S.C. Department of Commerce and OCtech with the goal of reaching high school seniors without post-graduation plans. LSCOG Workforce Administrator Andre Anderson said, “It’s always very beneficial to have someone come and talk to the young people about how they can move forward with their careers.” Joni McDaniel with the Department of Commerce said they always try to bring in keynote speaker who can connect with the students and ensure students understand the need to be qualified coming out of college.

Allendale-Fairfax High School student Jerome Polite said he learned that it is never too early to start. “It was a very inspiring speech and motivational,” he said. “Getting out there and doing it can put you ahead.” Polite plans to attend Clemson University in the fall and major in accounting.

Tori Rutland, a student at North Middle/High School, said she and her sister will be first-generation college students and feel the responsibility. “We really do have that responsibly on us to go to college and do something with our lives,” she said. “We’ve got goals.” Rutland plans to major in mathematics at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.

“What I really liked from what he said was when he said don’t let anybody stop you,” Angel Haigler said. “You have regrets, but you can still accomplish whatever it is you want to do.” Haigler is a student at North Middle/High School and felt that she really needed to hear McGregor’s words. “There’s a lot going on right now,” she said. “You’re trying to figure out what you want to do, where you want to go.” “To have people come and talk to you and help guide you in that direction is really nice,” Haigler added. She plans to attend OCtech in the fall, noting that she wants to be a registered nurse.

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