Career Planing

CAREER PLANNING


Career planning is not an activity that should 

be done once -- in high school or college -- and 

then left behind as we move forward in our 

jobs and careers. Rather, career planning is an 

activity that is best done on a regular basis -- 

especially given the data that the average 

worker will change careers (not jobs) multiple 

times over his or her lifetime. And it's never too 

soon or too late to start your career planning.






Career is an occupation or profession. A career is followed as one’s life’s work and the chosen career field must have some scope for advancement. To choose and plan a career, you should look into matters such as your household, the environment you live in, your interactions with people etc. Whatever situation you may be in at present, you must keep those in mind while deciding on your priorities in search for a career or a job. Generally, it is observed that different people have different priorities, which determine the career, and this includes - status, wealth, power, challenge and contentment.

Learning

Life-long learning is your keyword

The world is constantly changing, and everybody is looking for new ways of doing business.
If you have decided that your current skills are good enough, you have also decided that your current job is good enough.


Learning


But if you want a career in the future, you should add regular updates to your skills and knowledge.





Analyze & Set Goals

Develop a road map for your job and career success. Can you be successful in your career without setting goals? Of course. Can you be even more successful through goal-setting? Most research says yes.
There are many reasons to set goals. In order to become a success in whatever you choose to do, it is imperative that you have a clear and motivating goal in mind. It is generally seen that people with clear goals do better than those who fail to set goals. In the absence of clarity and direction, we tend to drift away from what is important. Set clear career goals and objectives so that they can guide and motivate you every step of the way. The future is uncertain but the present is in your hands. Do everything you can to put in your best today and make your future more bright. Successful attainment is possible only through well defined and clear goals.


Analyze & Set Goals


Common career planning Steps
Set a timeframe within which you will try to follow and implement each career planning guideline.


• Think about what it is that is important for you
family, status, money, social responsibility or something else?


• Think over and list down
your good and bad personality traits, your strengths and weaknesses.


• Set simple and difficult goals
which you want to achieve over a short period and those which are long term as well.

• Think about the reasons why you find it difficult to achieve what ever it is you want to achieve?

• List down the people who can help you.






Career principles

Take responsibility for managing your career; you own your career – your employer owns your job.

It’s essential that you take responsibility for managing your own career. Regrettably most people spend more time researching and organizing their annual vacation than they do analysing and managing their career. Few people actively and logically plan and manage their career in the manner required to achieve career success. Most people tend to be passive about their career, only actively considering issues when they meet an opportunity or face a hurdle.

 Career principles

One of the key issues in career management is that you own your career and your employer owns your job. Your career has permanence and is always with you – your job is only temporary and your job and its owner –your employer -can change many times over the life of your career. While in most cases your career and job are closely aligned when you begin your job they become less congruent over time as either your goals and aspirations and the skills and experience required to achieve those goals change or your employer wishes to make changes to the nature of the role.


The older and more experienced you become the harder it becomes to find a job that will progress your career

Strangely the older one gets the harder it becomes to find a job and certainly one that will progress your career. As you enter your thirties and forties you develop a far greater array of knowledge skills and experience and have a much greater insight into your occupation or profession thereby being able to increasingly add value to your employer. However the numbers of opportunities open to you as an older executive falls dramatically due to the pyramid hierarchy effect of fewer senior management or technical positions being available as you become more senior.




The progressive flattening of corporate structures over the past ten years has made this problem worse. At the same time the competition for those jobs increases, as there are many eligible applicants in their thirties forties and fifties. In contrast as a youngster you have limited skills and experience but find it relatively easy to find a job because there are many relatively junior jobs and a fewer or similar number of job seekers to fill those jobs. This unfortunately creates a mirage effect to you that this will always be the case and sadly its not.

Always aim to develop experience that is marketable


You convert your potential into experience as you move from entry level through to mature career stage. Potential here is defined as your potential to perform to the required level and then to continue to grow in the future to perform at higher levels. In the early stages you sell yourself internally and externally largely on potential. Moving through your career you then sell a combination of potential and experience and then onto the mature career stage where its predominately your track record of experience that you are selling. The experience you gain is obviously significant as it will sell you or not sell you in your career.

There are some important observations:

• You should always plan to gain experience that will be a stepping-stone in the career direction you want to go.

• If you are unclear as to your precise career goal then try and develop experience that will help you keep your options open.

• In the early stages of your career try different things not only to find out what you like but what you’re good at .You wont often get the opportunity to do so later in your career as such a move will be perceived as being “unstable.”

• In the early part of your career aim to achieve a combination of “solid middle of the road “ experience in your particular discipline but then also other “out of the ordinary “experience that stretches you in a different direction –e.g. ad hoc projects or difficult or stressful situations. In this way you gain both the required basic experience and attractive additional experience which makes you much more marketable internally and externally.
There should always be a logical thread running through your experience so that the different positions that comprise your experience to date read logically like a book, each position leading naturally into the next. Your experience should not only be relevant to your longer term career goal and leading you in the general direction of where you want to go but also needs to be relevant short term to ensure you are marketable for the next opportunity.

• Future employers will look at your resume for relevant company labels and position labels and, depending on their own credentials and preferences, will prefer certain labels and combinations of labels. For example a large company will usually be more interested in someone with prior large company experience. This does vary during the economic cycle but certainly in a downturn it is much more likely that an employer will want to see experience as close as possible to the vacant position and from a company of a similar size style and structure.

• Employers look for evidence of promotions and lateral moves within one company as that is evidence that you have talents and qualities that have been recognized and rewarded.

• Your experience will be both the cause and effect of a successful or mediocre career.




Better Planning

Many of us have physicals, visit the eye doctor and dentist, and do a myriad of other things on an annual basis, so why not career planning? Find a day or weekend once a year -- more often if you feel the need or if you're planning a major career change -- and schedule a retreat for yourself. Try to block out all distractions so that you have the time to truly focus on your career -- what you really want out of your career, out of your life.


By making career planning an annual event, you will feel more secure in your career choice and direction -- and you'll be better prepared for the many uncertainties and difficulties that lie ahead in all of our jobs and career.


Map Your Path since Last Career Planning

One of your first activities whenever you take on career planning is spending time mapping out your job and career path since the last time you did any sort of career planning. While you should not dwell on your past, taking the time to review and reflect on the path -- whether straight and narrow or one filled with any curves and dead-ends -- will help you plan for the future.
Planning
Once you've mapped your past, take the time to reflect on your course -- and note why it looks the way it does. Are you happy with your path? Could you have done things better? What might you have done differently? What can you do differently in the future?

Reflect on Your Likes and Dislikes, Needs and Wants

Change is a factor of life; everybody changes, as do our likes and dislikes. Something we loved doing two years ago may now give us displeasure. So always take time to reflect on the things in your life -- not just in your job -- that you feel most strongly about.
Make a two-column list of your major likes and dislikes. Then use this list to examine your current job and career path. If your job and career still fall mostly in the like column, then you know you are still on the right path; however, if your job activities fall mostly in the dislike column, now is the time to begin examining new jobs and new careers.

Your Likes and Dislikes

Finally, take the time to really think about what it is you want or need from your work, from your career. Are you looking to make a difference in the world? To be famous? To become financially independent? To effect change? Take the time to understand the motives that drive your sense of success and happiness.
Examine Your Pastimes and Hobbies

Career planning provides a great time to also examine the activities you like doing when you're not working. It may sound a bit odd, to examine non-work activities when doing career planning, but it's not. Many times your hobbies and leisurely pursuits can give you great insight into future career paths.
Think you can't make a hobby into a career? People do it all the time. The great painter Paul Gauguin was a successful business person who painted on the side. It actually wasn't until he was encouraged by an artist he admired to continue painting that he finally took a serious look at his hobby and decided he should change careers. He was good at business, but his love was painting.



Make Note of Your Past Accomplishments

Most people don't keep a very good record of work accomplishments and then struggle with creating a powerful resume when it's time to search for a new job. Making note of your past accomplishments -- keeping a record of them -- is not only useful for building your resume, it's also useful for career planning.
Sometimes reviewing your past accomplishments will reveal forgotten successes, one or more which may trigger researching and planning a career shift so that you can be in a job that allows you to accomplish the types of things that make you most happy and proud.


Look Beyond Your Current Job for Transferable Skills

Some workers get so wrapped up in their job titles that they don't see any other career possibilities for themselves. Every job requires a certain set of skills, and it's much better to categorize yourself in terms of these skill sets than be so myopic as to focus just on job titles.
For example, one job-seeker who was trying to accomplish career planning found herself stuck because she identified herself as a reporter. But once she looked beyond her job title, she could see that she had this strong collection of transferable skills -- such as writing, editing, researching, investigating, interviewing, juggling multiple tasks, meeting goals and deadlines, and managing time and information -- skills that could easily be applied to a wide variety of jobs in many different careers.


Review Career and Job Trends

Everyone makes his or her own job and career opportunities, so that even if your career is shrinking, if you have excellent skills and know how to market yourself, you should be able to find a new job. However, having information about career trends is vital to long-term career planning success.Review Career
A career path that is expanding today could easily shrink tomorrow -- or next year. It's important to see where job growth is expected, especially in the career fields that most interest you. Besides knowledge of these trends, the other advantage of conducting this research is the power it gives you to adjust and strengthen your position, your unique selling proposition. One of the keys to job and career success is having a unique set of accomplishments, skills, and education that make you better than all others in your career.



Explore New Education/Training Opportunities

It's somewhat of a cliché, but information really does lead to power and success. Never pass up chances to learn and grow more as a person and as a worker; part of career planning is going beyond passive acceptance of training opportunities to finding new ones that will help enhance or further your career.
Take the time to contemplate what types of educational experiences will help you achieve your career goals. Look within your company, your professional association, your local universities and community colleges, as well as online distance learning programs, to find potential career-enhancing opportunities -- and then find a way achieve them.



Research Further Career/Job Advancement Opportunities

One of the really fun outcomes of career planning is picturing yourself in the future. Where will you be in a year? In five years? A key component to developing multiple scenarios of that future is researching career paths.
Of course, if you're in what you consider a dead-end job, this activity becomes even more essential to you, but all job-seekers should take the time to research various career paths -- and then develop scenarios for seeing one or more of these visions become reality. Look within your current employer and current career field, but again, as with all aspects of career planning, do not be afraid to look beyond to other possible careers.



Final Thoughts on Career Planning

Don't wait too long between career planning sessions. Career planning can have multiple benefits, from goal-setting to career change, to a more successful life. Once you begin regularly reviewing and planning your career using the tips provided in this article, you'll find yourself better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career -- and in your life.
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