11 Best Tips for Career preparation – Career planning isn’t something that you just do once and then forget about it for the rest of your career. Putting into consideration that several researches have shown that an average worker will change careers (not jobs, careers) for up to five to seven times in their lifetime. Therefore, career planning should be an activity you do at least once every year.
Succeeding in a consistently changing workspace requires a career management plan. Employers are always on the lookout to attract, hire, and retain employees who provide the greatest value. Think about yourself as a brand with a product or service to sell and create different strategies for marketing your value in the workspace.
Step to develop a career plan
Here are steps you can take right now to develop a career plan that will get you where you want to be professionally:
Keep an up-to-date resume
One of the most crucial steps in planning for the future of your career is to be prepared to pounce when opportunities show up. Irrespective of your industry or career level, learning how to write a great resume and constantly keeping it up to date is a terrific annual exercise.
Make career planning a regular event
Schedule a day or weekend at least once annually and take some time to truly focus on what you want out of your career. Personally, the best time to do this exercise is at the end of December, as we approach a new year.
Reflect on your career path since your last career planning session
Research has shown that reflection increases productivity and performance, so take some time to reflect on your past situations and what could’ve been done better, and also think about your current situation and the path you wish to follow.
- How happy are you with your current career path?
- What could you’ve done differently?
- What would you change in the future?
After understanding yourself and what you really want, it’s a lot more simple to create a plan that’s tailored to your goals and your lifestyle.
You can continuously experience career growth by consistently investing in your career development like, you can speak to your manager about job shadowing other employees in your company to learn more about different jobs, or you could attend many different training sessions and workshops.
You can also explore lateral moves to expand your experience or get a mentor in a different department that you desire to explore.
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Reflect on what you like, dislike, need, and want from work
Our likes and dislikes alter over time, so it’s always an excellent idea to reflect on what you feel strongly about in your life and career. Create a list of what you really like and dislike about your current job. Hopefully, you still enjoy lots of your work activities, but if its not the case, it may be time to start considering a new job or career.
It’s also essential to have a clear and significant purpose that you find emotionally engaging.
- What do you really need from your work?
- To make a difference?
- To become financially independent?
Keep a record of your achievements
Most people don’t keep track of and record their work achievements. But, the act of keeping track is not only useful for building your resume, it’s also beneficial for career planning. Learning to keep track and record your professional accomplishments will be beneficial to you when working toward your next career goal.
Identify your transferable skills
Imagine your job title is a Business Analyst but you have an enormous amount of project management experience skills that can be applied to various other jobs. Think beyond your current job position by considering your goals and how the skills you have now can be useful in a new role. Create a list of related transferable skills to add to your resume.
Also, do extensive research on what skills you need to acquire. If your goal is to become the VP of Finance, for example, what experience and skills you’d need to gain in the next year, or in the next five years, to be eligible for that job position? Then prepare a plan for achieving your long-term career goal.
Set career goals
While you could be successful in your career without setting goals, you can be way more successful with goal setting.
What are your short-term career goals? (within a year) and your long-term career goals? (within five to 10 years) You most probably already know about SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. Always note them down and share a list with someone.
This will aid with your accountability.
Another huge part of career planning is reviewing and modifying these goals on a consistent basis and developing new goals once you accomplish your previous ones. So, every time you sit down for a career planning session, bring out your list and review it.
Explore new education or training opportunities
Don’t ever miss a chance to learn and grow both as an employee and individually. An aspect of career planning is finding training opportunities, courses, or workshops that would help you further your career. If your company provides professional development opportunities, use them. This is free money and can be useful in reaching your goals.
Leverage and learn from others
Build your relationships with leaders inside and outside of your company, attend relevant conferences, and explore other relating events. The better your network is, the more opportunities you’d have to learn from individuals who’ve enjoyed success.
Step out of your comfort zone
One of the prime ways to advance your career is by identifying and solving an organizational difficulty your company is experiencing. If you could successfully identify the problem within your organization, propose a solution, and execute it, you would not only be increasing your visibility in the organization but also expanding your skills in the process.
Research further career advancement opportunities
The fun part of career planning is visualizing your career in the future.
- Where will you be in a year or five years time?
While it’s not possible to plan everything, it’s always an excellent idea to know where you’re heading and what various career options are available to you.
As you progress in your careers, fewer jobs at a more senior level become available, yet continuously growing your skills and experience should still be of prime concern.
You can continuously experience career growth by investing in your career development, you could speak to your manager about job shadowing other employees in your company to gain knowledge about different jobs, or you could attend various training sessions and workshops. You can also explore lateral moves to widen your experience or find a mentor in a different department that you desire to explore.
Constantly reviewing and planning would make you better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career. Steer your career intentionally, but also be open to life gifting you with new adventures even if they don’t accurately match the destination you had in mind.