In the same way that a Vision Statement helps a company define its goals, a personal Career Plan can help you to solidify your goals and identify the steps you should consider taking in order to reach those goals. Whether a Career Plan would be useful to you is a question only you can properly answer. It can provide solid preparation for that “old standby” interview question of “where you see yourself in five years,” and it can help you sort out the questions or uncertainties in your own mind about what you want from your professional life. If you think that formulating a Career Plan might be a productive use of your time, here are some thoughts to consider as you shape your thoughts.
Lay the Groundwork with a Self-Assessment
Before constructing a Career Plan (or deciding whether a Plan is necessary), take some time to identify your own values, interests, and skills.
• What do you want out of a job? A certain salary level? The freedom to exercise creativity? The ability to employ a certain skill set?
• What do you enjoy doing? How might your personal interests overlap with or inform the career field of your choice?
• What are your personal skills? Consider both natural talents (maybe leadership, organization, or creative thinking) and learned skills (training in a specific area, education on a particular topic, experience gained in the field).
Draw Yourself a (Verbal) Picture
As you answer these questions about yourself, you may begin to gain a clearer picture of what type of career-path would best suit you. Now see if you can composite all of that information into a description of the professional role that would be “perfect” for you. Now compare that idealized description to existing opportunities in your career field, and fix a target for yourself. Identify the job you want.
Create a Ladder of Goals
With your end objective in mind, itemize the “steps” or goals you’ll need to target on the way to achieving your desired end result. Will you need particular types of job experience? Additional education? Networking with colleagues? Publications or credits in the field? Creating a ladder of quantifiable steps toward your end goal will enable you to focus your energies on the “action plan” that can get you there.
Don’t be Afraid to Revise
People change; companies change, technologies change, and unexpected opportunities may come your way. Don’t consider your Career Plan as a “locked in” document you must follow till you retire; rather, take a fresh look at it periodically and see if it still suits you as you grow and mature in your career path. Perhaps the individual goals or even the end result could use some adjustments or corrections due to changes in your field or in yourself.
If you decide that writing a Career Plan will be a useful tool for you, look for inspiration and tips from resources like Stafco. The true decision of whether to formulate a Career Plan rests with you. If you still have questions about what you want from your professional life, writing a Career Plan may be a productive focus for your energy.
Steven R. Brown is the CEO of Quality Communication Solutions. Quality Communication Solutions will provide the exact solutions you need for any type of speaking, writing, reporting, or presenting challenge that you may face. Both corporate and individual clients are equally welcome. Rates for services provided are comfortably affordable. Quality of the work provided will be unsurpassed. See: http://www.QualityCommunicationSolutions.com
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