A career in simple definition is a “particular job for which one is trained”. Today, we understand better, it has far-reaching scope and impact that was not evident in ancient times. Few decades back, we have handful career options, namely – Doctor, engineer, architect or lawyer. Apparently, the number of candidates to fill these vacancies were also limited. However, in new millennia this scenario has changed, and people are daring to choose new careers.
Now, people have innumerable options in every sector that have had evolved as a highly competitive environment. Subsequently emerged as a mind-boggling situation for candidates as most of them stuck with one question “how to choose a career”?
The evolution rate of education and recruitment industry is above par; it is vital for one to start career planning as early as possible. The idea of developing a career plan is to manage developments and learnings in a systematic way. This plan will point a candidate in the right direction like, which is the most suitable industry to work with initially, related to his or her acquired skill sets.
Once a career plan is developed and followed, spontaneously it will be improvised at different levels.
Who can use the career plan?
Career planning is a never-ending process, and anyone can make an efficient use of it, regardless, their age, job experience, skill sets and industry type.
Whether you are;
- Still at school, or
- An adult changing your career or job, or
- A school leaver, or
- An adult adding on skills
There is no FULL STOP in career planning activity. One can take a break, then again can review and start planning at whole new level.
Recognize the elements of effective career planning
- Start by thinking of your skills, interest, values and preferences;
- Ensuring your work fits best with your personal circumstances;
- Exploring the work and learning options available to you; and
- Continuously shifting your gears and fine-tuning your skills, work and learning plans to help you adjust the changes in your world of work and life
4 steps of career planning process
Start with the step that is most pertinent for you now!
STEP 1 – Knowing Yourself
Start by answering following 6 questions –
- Where am I at now?
- Where do I want to be?
- What do I like to do?
- What is important to me?
- What are my strengths?
- What do I want out of a career or job?
Take your time while answering these questions. In the end, you will have a clear idea of your individual preference, work and learning goals. You can even use this “knowing yourself” information as your personal “wish list”.
STEP 2 – Exploring Around
At this step, you must start finding out the learning areas and occupations that interest you. Once you have some idea of your career preference, you can start the research on specific qualifications and skills needed for that specific job.
- Make a comparison of your skills and interests with the occupations you have shortlisted
- Where are the gaps?
- What skills do I need to learn to fill the gap?
At last, you will conclude the list of preferred learning options and occupations.
STEP 3 – Making Decisions
Before reaching this step, you recognized your skill sets, interest area, and available job options. Now, it is a time you start comparing all available options and start narrowing down your choices. Make decision by answering following questions –
- What are my best training/working options?
- How do they fit best with the current labor market?
- What are the pros and cons of each option?
The answers to these questions will give you a better idea what you need to do next to achieve your career goals.
STEP 4 – Taking Action
At last, the time has come when you put your plan into action. Summarize all you information, like – what you have learned about your skills? What steps help you achieve your work or career goals? Who will support you? And from where you can get help?
You can start your career plan from any step. All you need is to decide which step is relevant to you at given time. Following a career plan will give you a clear picture what job opportunities available in the market as per your skill sets and how to accomplish your career goals efficiently.
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