Career planning is essential to achieving success in your chosen career. Whether you are aiming to be a bookkeeper in a small business or the finance director of a multi-national corporation, you must know in which direction you are headed and what is required of you to achieve your goal.
Planning is a basic, yet key principle used by successful business people. Plans are formulated on a regular basis to control direction, make the best use of resources and measure progress or results.
Think of your career plan along the lines of a business plan. The key issues to cover are:
- What are my long-term career objectives?
- What will I want to get out of my job in the next five years or so?
- Do I need to study? If so, what for?
- What are my individual priorities?
These priorities and objectives may change over time and you need to check up from time to time to make sure you are on track.
So, to formulate your career plan, firstly you must set your long-term goals or objectives. For example -" In ten years time I want to be the financial controller of a large commercial organisation". To arrive at this objective, you must consider personal and professional aspirations. Aim high with whatever you set out to achieve, both personally and professionally, but be realistic as goals that are obviously unachievable can be demotivating.
Don't be afraid to set long-term goals. They can be altered or amended as your aspirations or values change. Indeed, it is quite likely this will be the case.
Once your long-term goals are in place, it is important to establish the steps you will need to take to reach those longer-term objectives. Again, these steps may need alteration where appropriate, but will be based on such considerations as academic qualifications, professional membership, technical experience and personal development.
With firm goals in place, you must obtain the right attitude. Enthusiasm is the catalyst to success. It makes your personal and professional experiences more enjoyable and satisfying. Remember, nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm!
One final note:
Career planning or goal setting will only achieve its purpose if you adhere to the principals of measuring your progress and following the path you have planned. This means it is important to write down your goals. The process of putting pen to paper allows you to keep clear focus, check your achievements and make the necessary alterations when required.
Imagine you are planning an overseas trip and the amount of time and energy you would devote to it. Your career will probably span the next thirty years of your life so start planning now.
Actioning your career plan
Having the plan in place is just the start. Now comes the hard work! Bear in mind you have a number of resources available to you if you just look for them...
Your support network
Consider your own network of contacts. Many opportunities become available through referrals and "word of mouth" -so, if you are able, spread the word amongst close friends as to what sort of role you are looking for. Not everyone is good at keeping things confidential, so take care with regard to who you tell.
On the whole, people are usually very willing to help if they can. Get referees "ready" to take calls - there is nothing more positive for a prospective employer than to take a reference from an enthusiastic previous employer. This is much more likely to be the case if you have discussed the prospect with your referee before they get the call. At the very least, you need their permission to give their contact details.
Getting the best out of your Consultant
Your recruitment consultant is there to guide and assist you. The better they understand your career objectives the more likely they are to be able to help you achieve them. We like customers to be ours for life (or career at least!) so you can expect honest and open feedback and assessment as you progress through your career.
One of the biggest issues is the communication between you and your consultant. If you don't feel as though they are giving you the right opportunities or talking to you about the right jobs, ask them to restate to you what it is they are looking for on your behalf. You may also change your mind about certain things from time to time as well as perhaps the salary you want or maybe the location. It is important for you to keep the communication going so that these changes can be activated promptly on your behalf.
It is our intention to service our customers professionally and effectively. We are human and make mistakes so please tell us if there is something we could be doing better. Our Customer Service Hotline is 1800 805 051 or email email@example.com
Be aware of changing market conditions
Things do change quite rapidly in the recruitment market. For instance, the computer system that was in great demand when you were last on the market two years ago is probably not so hot today! Be careful to research what is current, keep an eye on the press so you can keep track of salary changes, job description changes and so on.
Be prepared to promote yourself
It is quite normal to feel uncomfortable about selling yourself, but it is a necessary evil when you are looking for a job. There are new opportunities to impress other than by your resume, and at the interview (see our information on 'Interview Techniques') so it is important you make the most of them both. Your resume is, in essence, a sales document and you should treat it as such when you compile it. Would you 'buy' this person? Similarly, in an interview, only you can highlight and bring out all your achievements - it is rare for an interviewer to be able to elicit them through questioning.