Career planning is something so crucial but yet ignored by many career professionals. This is especially true of the Gen Z and Millennials generation’s, which has resulted in the highest job mobility rates recorded in history.
According to a Gallup report, “21% of millennials have changed jobs more than three times in a year. You might know or have read about Baby Boomers or Gen X professionals who spent their 20-30+ career in one organisation or at most 2.
There are many reasons why this had been this case for them, but that’s not what I’ll be looking at today.
In my conversations with career professionals, I have observed that those who lack fulfilment with their career, usually do not have a career plan.
So, what is career planning, you ask?
Before I answer your question, if I asked you the job you have now or want to have; why do you want it and what would it do for you besides finances, what would you say?
Career planning is a written down strategy that a career professional uses to determine career goals(short and long term) and the path to achieving those goals.
Career planning turns your job hunt, and the job offers your acceptance into a strategy because it’s not the end in itself. Let’s look at the benefits of career planning and tips for planning your career.
10 Benefits of Career Planning
- Provides focus and increases your productivity
- Helps you pick and stick to your career path(s)
- Focused and narrowed self-development efforts
- Fulfilment of individual needs
- Improves your job satisfaction
- Increases industry and job knowledge
- Opportunity for optimal career returns
- Improves your awareness of the work environment
- Helps you build a personal brand around yourself not the organisation
- Saves you energy, time, money and from the dangers of job-hopping
Career Planning: 4 Tips to Enable You Plan Your Career
Let’s get into career planning proper, get a pen and paper to make important notes here.
Self Assessment: Where You are and Where to Go
A career planning self-assessment helps you carry out a SWOT Analysis. It would help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and discover industry or personal opportunities and threats for your career growth and trajectory.
You also get to define your career ambitions and goals for the as well as present and future responsibilities, impacting your career decision both financials and relationship.
Define What Works For You: Present Reality Etc
One of the many things a career plan does for you is to state the steps you need to take and time. Timeliness of action can be crucial to winning your career goals. For example, taking an industry course, developing yourself in an area where organisations invest in and searching for talent would make you a highly sought after professional.
You also map your present skills to jobs, industry, and organisation and create a career journey chart to start taking action on.
Understand Your Market: Follow the Money
With career planning, you want to ensure you follow the money; this means going where the opportunities and organisational demand are high in your industry. For example, an intern HR job seeker in recent years with HR Analytics knowledge would be more likely to be a favourite than one with the same HR training but not HR analytics knowledge.
In planning your career, avoid stale occupations or industries impacted by present or future realities like technology or government policies. Analyse top organisations, roles Etc. and what could positively or negatively affect them.
Execute Your Plan; Only a Well-Executed Plan Works
Like you have heard me say, only a well-executed plan works. Track and optimise your strategy, celebrate your wins and watch for opportunities or new trends. Ultimately, look before you leap when it comes to taking job opportunities. Failure is also okay and shouldn’t stop you when you encounter it.
In conclusion, I firmly believe that building a career is a job. A career gives you leverage and creates opportunities you can’t access if you are going from job to job.
I have also realised that the best place to begin your career plan is now; whether you have a job or not. I hope these tips and thoughts helps seat back and look at your career so far and ask yourself difficult questions.