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How to Plan your Career

Today getting to where you want to be career-wise takes a combination of education, experience and tenacity. More than ever before we must take action and go after what we want, no one is going to hand your dream career to you on a plate, and you have to take everything into consideration when deciding which route you will go down.

Whether you want to completely change career, or are just leaving university and taking your first steps into the world of work, there are many steps you need to take to pursue your chosen career. It is important to plan your career, but at the same time, try and remember that things don’t always go to plan, so try to think of a career plan as your ‘career preferences’.

Step 1

…is a complete self-assessment, during which you should think about what your interests are, what skills you have, any educational certificates you hold and what career they might translate to. You should be able to compile a list of career options based on this, and should carefully review each option. Can you see yourself doing this job? Not only this, research companies to find out where you could be working, would you prefer a large corporation, or a more intimate start up? The people around you are a fantastic resource, so talk to them, ask them about their job, career plan, how they got started. The best thing to do at this stage is to volunteer or intern, as you’ll get a real feel for the different kinds of work, and what might best suit you.

Step 2

…is to prioritise what is important to you, and what exactly it is that you hope to get out of a career, because there is no point pursuing something you don’t care about. Think about your values, what you enjoy doing, your best skills, and then compare this with the list of potential jobs you gathered in step 1. Some questions you should ask yourself at this stage are: what motivates me? What do I want from a job? What do I want to do? For example, some would answer, ‘I want to make as much money as possible’, or some might ‘want to be creative, or ‘help the environment’. All of these individuals would probably have very different jobs. So try and be honest with yourself to find the perfect job.

Step 3

There are other factors that need to be considered of course, and during step 3 that’s what we’re going to address. It’s sensible to contemplate the demand for your chosen jobs, do people need that service or skill, and is someone going to pay you for it? For example, creative jobs often come with the downside that they are less in demand than other jobs. In addition, you should think about the typical salary, whether you’ll need extra education and training, and if you can afford it. It is extremely important to study all angles, and think about it in a very objective way. How realistic is your chosen career? And how can you get there?

SMART Goals

Once you have gone through these steps you can set yourself SMART goals and create and action plan.

Specific – make your goals clear and concise.

Measurable – give yourself clear criteria.

Attainable – your goals should be realistic for you.

Relevant – in this instance, set goals which will help you achieve your chosen career.

Time bound – set yourself a time frame, when will you have realised this goal by?

Using SMART goals to create an action plan, including short term goals (6 months-1 year) and long term goals (5 years). You’ll feel empowered that you are able to take control of your future, and by breaking it down into easy-to-manage chunks you won’t feel overwhelmed. And if you need to get any educational certificates to reach your goals? We know who can help 😉 click here to view our course catalogue.

February 9, 2018

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