New Year Resolutions and a Career Plan to Boot!
A career plan is an action plan that clarifies what your interests and talents/strengths are, what new skills you might need to get ahead in your present, new or prospective job. By this definition, a career plan can have either of two-pronged focus – Career Advancement and Career Change.
The Career Plan for a Career Advancement is not much different from that for a Career Change except for the direction of movement. Career Advancement involves a vertical movement in your career while a Career Change involves a horizontal movement from one career to another. Whichever direction you chose to make in your career plan, there are certain steps that must be considered to avoid a collision course – Titanic-scale. Here are a few tips to help you as you write your career plan:
- Write your Life Goals: What are your goals? What do you expect from your work life? Try to be realistic and precise. Nothing too lofty – try simple words and expressions to convey where you would like to be within the next one year (short term goals) and longer that, maybe five years (long term goals).
- Evaluate your skills: A SWOT analysis works perfectly here. Take a sheet of paper and write down your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is important for your to have a clear picture of what chances you have of fitting into your “dream” job. The idea of using a SWOT analysis is not to give you 10 reasons why you shouldn’t attempt applying for the job but to give you 10 keys to going beyond the first call to interview. With knowledge of the skills you have (Strengths) and the skills you need (Weaknesses) you know what skills you require to learn. To understand the Opportunities and Threats involved in your career choice, you must research the industry you are moving into.
- Naturally, the next to do when you have realised the skills you need for the job is to get them. You can acquire skills by shadowing (this involves assisting someone already doing what you would like to do, in order to learn from them), volunteer jobs, trainings and perhaps going back to school. When you want to apply for a job, you want to stand out from the crowd and the only way to do this is to pitch yourself as the solution to their problem. You can only do this if you are armed with the requisite skills.
- As it so happens with plans, sometimes you need to look at alternatives when your expectations don’t match reality.
- Prepare your resume and get it out there. Network from within your contact circle, people you know. Start looking from within – sometimes, you need to start from where you are. Your organization could have a position you would be suited for, apply for it. Be famous for your competence on the job and it becomes easier to trust you with more responsibilities.
Be prepared to market yourself on the Internet even. You have to follow up with action.
It is the way to get yourself out there. Facebook, twitter, and job boards are daily becoming thriving scout fields for recruiters, so update your resume and upload them.
Career planning shouldn’t necessarily be a once-a-year exercise. Circumstances change and plans are better off changing with them – or at least reviewed as they happen.
“If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” – Brian Tracy