Planning your career always keeps you in the direction in which you want your career to head. Hundreds of options are available in every industry sector. Yet, you will not be able to make a career choice until you know what exactly you want. Before you make a career plan it is necessary for you to decide on ‘what is it that you are interested in’ and ‘what is it that you are good at’.
Sometimes it might so happen that after all the research and analysis, you might still be confused on taking the next step. In such a scenario you may consider the SMARTER system for planning your career objectives.
Specific: Avoid ambiguity by being as specific as you can.
Measurable: Visualize and gage all that you have already achieved.
Achievement: Motivate yourself by setting smaller targets that can be easily achieved.
Realistic: Being realistic and reasonable is crucial.
Time Management: Set time frames for completing specific activities.
Empowerment: Empower your goals to bring about the changes you want.
Review: Being flexible and reviewing your goal from time to time helps you in realizing your career plans faster.
Here are some tips to make a career plan that is successful.
- Constant Learning: ‘Constant learning’ is the keyword to success. It is extremely important to keep your mind open and be ready to inculcate changes in this constantly changing work environment. Adding updates on a regular basis to your existing knowledge and skills might open new doors of opportunities.
- Identify and Fulfill the Current Job: Successful people are separated from the average by the choices they make. Fulfilling the current job responsibilities and justifying your role is the best way to jumpstart your new career. Consulting your manager to discuss the tasks that you can do, suggesting improvements and offering your help when needed will make you a valued employee of the organization where you are working.
While trying to become a valued employee, there are chances that you might end up carrying out tasks, which you assume to be important; but in real, they might be insignificant. This can be a waste of time. Consulting your superior regarding your priorities before you take up a new task, saves your time and efforts. You will certainly be surprised when you realize the differences between your assumptions and the actual work requirements.
- Identify the Next Job You Want to do: Before you begin to plan your career, identify your interests. Being sure about your interests is essential. Start planning your career by evaluating your abilities. Weigh your strengths and weaknesses. Check whether you like to work with technology or you like to work with people. Sometimes you would even want to set up your own business or get into a career that is totally contrasting to your current job profile. Therefore, identify your career goal before planning your career.
- Communicate and Build Your Network: Your existing contact network will always have a lot to contribute to your next step in career planning. In the current business scenario, over 50% of the jobs are being acquired through the contact network. These contact networks aid you in discovering future careers, exploring innovative market trends and learning about novel opportunities. Investing time in building new contacts while maintaining the existing ones is also important. Regularly inquiring with your contact network about what they do and what are the new developments taking place in their career can provide you with some of the valuable information that you are looking forward to.
- Get Equipped and Stay Ready: Apart from your qualification and work experience, doing short and relevant certifications can add value and weightage to your resume. Furthermore, your current job might be the most vital source for developing new skills.
Your dream job might show up anytime. Do not wait for a second. Keep your CV updated on a regular basis. Describe your professional excellence in detail to get noticed by the recruiters.
- Research on Further Advancement Opportunities: Visualizing your future is very important while planning your career. Asking yourself where you would want to see yourself in a span of one year or in the next five years, helps you in setting achievable goals. If you feel that you are in a dead-end job, then take some time out to do a research and do not be scared to take a look at the contrasting career opportunities.
- Get Committed to Your Goal, Not to Your Plan – Get committed to your objectives by excluding those short-term goals from your list. Long-term career plans are always associated with certain drawbacks. For instance, if there is a hitch in your career plan, it could be discouraging. However, having an end goal will always encourage you to try alternate routes for getting there. Assessing and adjusting your objectives as per the changes and progresses in your career plan is essential.
Most of us always tend to postpone the process of planning our career to next week or next month. But, that next week and next month never comes. If you do not look ahead in your career then the chances of you getting stuck without a proper sense of direction are high. Career planning requires you to think big while being ready for the slow-burn advancement.