It seems that some people are born knowing what they want to do. But for others, choosing the right career path is a complex process of trial and error. After all, we’re committing to spend a huge portion of our lives dedicated to our jobs. So how do you know if you’re picking the right one for you? Follow our tips on how to plan ahead for your future career.
What are your best talents? Assess your strongest and weakest areas of development. Discussing your skill set with an honest colleague can illuminate skills that require improvement, and those you can brag about. You can also quietly compare yourself and your achievements to those of your peers. What do your most successful workmates do that you don’t?
Explore the market
Is there a job that you’ve always been interested in applying for, but you’ve never really researched the requirements? Scrolling through job postings provides you with a solid idea of what employers are looking for. This is also useful to familiarize yourself with any qualifications you would need to earn before applying for any higher positions within your current career.
Where do you want to be this time next year? What about in the next decade? Create your dream career timeline and check back on it as time progresses to see how you’re doing. Setting personal goals gives you a mental push to work harder. Keep a journal of all your achievements to look back on when you feel stuck. Remember, your short-term goals should all lead into your long-term ones.
While you work toward your dream job, are you going to be financially stable enough to support yourself and your family? College graduates often face this problem right after university, taking low or unpaid internships in order to beef up their experience, leaving them unable to make loan or rent payments. Planning ahead financially gives you a cushion to fall back without sacrificing your commitment to furthering your career.
Tailor your resume
If you’ve been sending out the same resume for years, it might be time to tweak it. Update it regularly with recent achievements, and send it to recruitment agencies who can keep it on file and applying for new positions on your behalf. Some job seekers go even further, setting up their resume as a multi-page website or even making a “Why hire me?” pitch on YouTube. Personalized cover letters to individual employers add a nice touch that many people neglect to do. Anything you can do that makes you stand out of the crowd will work to your advantage when it comes to executing your career plan.
Define (and market) your personal brand
You are your best asset, and defining your personal brand will make marketing yourself a breeze. Do you want to work in a light-hearted, casual environment? Or do you prefer an all-business approach? Part of developing your career plan is visualizing the environment you want to work in and formulating your brand to reflect that. If want to work in the tech industry, make an online website resume. If you want to delve into pharmaceuticals, start a health blog. Failing to properly market yourself and your skills will hinder your career development, making it harder to achieve your goals.
After defining your career plan, make sure you put it into action. Write down your goals and aspirations, and then how you plan to reach them. It can take time, dedication and commitment, but in the end it will be more than worth the reward.