Whether you are actively looking for a different direction, keeping yourself open to opportunities, or wanting to get into the workforce, there is a clear case for having a career plan.
Like any other plan, it starts from where you are now, looks forward to where you want to be and then plots out the steps in between.
So all you have to do is wave the magic wand and then … oh, sorry, that’s the other story.
So all you have to do is put in the work to get it SPOT on!
S is for Strengths and Skills
This is about you. The inventory.
And like any good stocktaking method, it should be done accurately and often.
First, list your main strengths – the qualities that you believe give you advantages and would be assets in the workplace.
Next, use your résumétocheck the skills that you have gained in your work experience. Add to the list, including those that are not necessarily work related. Skills should be linked with demonstrated achievement: how was each skill used effectively?
These lists are invaluable. The picture they paint of you helps to build a positive self-image, which gives you added confidence (another valuable strength) and also makes you a more attractive candidate for a new position.
P is for Problems and your Potential for overcoming them
This is also about you. This time you are identifying areas that might need additional attention. Be honest, but remain positive by attaching to each ‘area for improvement’ a constructive strategy for making the improvement happen.
For example: ‘My résumé reflects my strengths and skills but I have never found it easy to adapt my application to the requirements of a specific job opportunity.’ Potential solution: consult a résuméspecialist; ask for a critique; learn the skill so you write a better application next time.
O is for Opportunities and any Opposition you might encounter in exploring them
This step is about what is around you – openings in the job market, advancement or promotions that exist in your area of expertise or new avenues to explore.
Get to know what you need to know
Do some research.Build your knowledge of the field in which you hope to work, and the area in which you want to specialise.Read! Talk! Participate! Post! (industry related sites and social media are ideal ways to become involved). Build your confidence as you build your expertise. It is also the best way to keep up with what’s available
… and who you need to know
Effective networking ‘Networking as a career tool is essential.
Make a list of people who can help you in your career, or those who are already doing the kind of work you want to do. Contact them. Find out about current issues and the problems they encounter. Get involved in meetings, seminars and events where you can meet people with interests and goals similar to yours.
Is anything holding you back?
You have strategies to resolve any gaps or problems related to your skills and strengths but are there any barriers ‘out there’ that you need to deal with?
Take some time to think about what’s preventing you from discovering or taking up opportunities.
In a competitive market, how might you need to promote yourself when others have similar skill sets? What makes you stand out? Do you have an effective online presence? Are you casting your net widely enough?
Could you use some professional help to connect you with the right companies?
The greater your involvement in the industry that interests you, the more easily you will identify and overcome the things that stand in your way.
T is for Takingaction and Transforming your career
Develop a concrete action plan.
- Note the important issues that have come out of your thinking about you and what is around you
- Convert them intogoals: make sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). Remind yourself how to do that here: Make a SMART MOVE
Most goals will have intermediate steps and if one of those involvestraining or re-skilling, do it!If it means making a connection with a partner – a recruiting firm like ours, for example – do that!
- Commit yourself to action:the wayto bring your career success closer
- Stay positive! Attitude is everything
- Congratulate and reward yourself each time you achieve a positive outcome
Making a career plan is an investment of time and some considerable effort, but it’s an investment in you that is worth making.
No magic wand required!