Career Development – The Value of a Career Plan!
A career plan can help you be clear about your skills and how you would like to use them. Developing a plan can help you think through your next move in a career that best suits your talents; what further skills you need and what training you might seek.
By developing a career plan, you can work out the overall direction you want your career to take. The work needed to make your plan will help you have a better understanding of your skills and experience when you are preparing your CV/resume.
But, one in point to keep in mind is that your career plan should be a tool and a not a constraint. You may have a plan, but you should regard it as a living document that requires regular review, at least once each year for the following reasons
- New opportunities may emerge
- These days the job market is in a constant state of flux
- Your personal circumstances and needs may change
- You may have developed new skills
- You will have gained more and possibly more diverse experiences
A career plan is useful, but don’t let it blind you to the exciting opportunities that you may discover along the way. Because they don’t fit in exactly with what you had planned don’t just dismiss them – be ready to be flexible and reconsider what you had planned. Also, if unfortunately something goes wrong (such as, redundancy), don’t see that as an end to your career – treat it as an opportunity to re-assess your plan and make a fresh start.
Making a plan
Here is some guidance;
- Decide your career goals, over the next year, three years and five years and then have a very flexible longer term goal. Shorter term career goals can be about quite specific jobs you want to do or experience you want to gain. Very long-term goals might be about working in a particular field and reaching a particular level.
- In thinking through career goals, you discover career possibilities you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. There may be several different job possibilities within any chosen field. Do some research – don’t settle for just what you know about already.
- A career goal should fit in with what you want from all parts of your life; such as the level of income you may need if you plan to marry and have a family.
- Think about how you need to prepare to meet your goals. Do you need special training or to seek out particular kinds of experience? If so, explore how you can find and support them.
- Write your career plan down – commit it to paper. Then, if you are serious about it, share it with someone you trust and make sure you are able to explain it clearly to them. That is a good way to make sure your plan has real value and it should mean you make to a real commitment to it.
- Put a date in your diary for your first review and start putting your plan into action.
Good luck with your plan and if you would like some help please get in touch – I offer a telephone (plus by Skype and on-line) coaching service and the first session is free.
Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project. Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.
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