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General Tips To Plan Your Career

Career planning is an important, but often overlooked in professional life. It’s a process that helps map out your goals, and also the steps, skills, and even the help of certain people required in getting there. Career planning must be done at all stages of your career, no matter what industry you are in, or the position of your role.

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Career planning should be a constant exercise of learning and taking advantage of opportunities that arise all through your jobs and professional life.

In planning of your career there are numerous factors said to play a role. Like luck, opportunity, God Father, industry or economic situation, and so on! But within all this it the right person, at the right time and the right place which is said to work in the experience of many. You have to be the person if you can be so! You have to plan your career, if possible.

Just as you plan an official work tour, or a holiday, or the purchase of a car! You plan and work on specific details, to make the right moves, and take the right decisions. So also you need to do this in planning your career! Which is ever so important to you, your happiness, and your life, your future, and your family! You have to plan, and plan well to see that the right things are in the right place and right time, to work for you, on your job and in the progress and growth of your career in the field. Other things like economy, environment, and opportunities being equal, lady luck will be with you.

Career planning is an important, but often overlooked in professional life. It’s a process that helps map out your goals, and also the steps, skills, and even the help of certain people required in getting there. Career planning must be done at all stages of your career, no matter what industry you are in, or the position of your role. Your career plan is so to make it reflect your professional aspirations and ambitions in the present and in the future. And then work to your achievements you wish.

Here are some general tips culled from the experience of true life successful professionals, to get your career planning going:

Research on people you want to be like

Study people in your profession, or around, who you admire. Study and analyse how they get what they want, got where they wanted to be and are there today. Do they have any advice for you to consider and follow in your working out your career plan? Seek out as much information as possible, and borrow parts of their career plan that suits you most, and may work for you, and try and incorporate those in your personal career planning. Personality traits, poise and etiquette, training in special skills, communications, handling and managing people, and whatever else is important in your personal growth. Follow them, but add to what you may adopt your own distinct trademark.

Define what you want to be, and follow through

One time big, lofty ideals and goals may look and sound impressive to you. But they are always the hardest to achieve! Hence go first for identifying and fixing smaller and specific goals that allow you to set your targets that are achievable, and identify specific one by one the steps required to achieve them. It also implies that your achievements of these, at each stage, helps you through to more challenging and bigger ones, and keeps reminding you of what you wish to achieve, and that you’re on the right track or path all the while.

Always be flexible in your mind and behaviour

This is very critical and key in your personal career planning. While having a plan that is specific, structured, and workable, and will take you in the right direction, following it too dogmatically may mean you may sometimes miss out opportunities that arise on the path. Be open to making adjustments and modifications that may be required in your career plan, and as different real situations may demand within your profession. Consult regularly with colleagues and senior leaders, or even a mentor if you have one, on how do they feel on your plan, and your being on track in respect to the plan? Is there more that could be done, or any change required? How should you go about it?

Being flexible will keep you on track, as well as open you to new possibilities and improvements necessary for your achievements in your plan.

The time frame and the period of your career planning.

Planning for 2 years to 3 years, to 5 years period is generally recommended. It is to see through your short-term goals, and achieve something significant in the period, and deciding on possibly required new direction and strategy in the long-term thereafter. Without it being so long as to be difficult to see, and adhere to!

When working on your career plan, thus, you must try ensure it contains three steps: your goals, your strategy, and means of implementation, at every stage:

Goals: Set your goals to be specific and ambitious. 2 to 3 to 5 years. Be clear about what you want and can achieve considering your personality, skill sets, networking, and tangible contributions on the job towards progress and growth. It’s also worth considering what you’re not willing to do, or unable to do depending on the job situation and company environment. For example, if you have a family, then maybe you’re not best-suited to the long hours and undue stress often associated with some jobs. Or you are unable to travel and hence would be better suited to an office job. And all such practical situations.

Strategy: This is a process of breaking the bigger, more final goals into smaller achievable tasks. If you need to qualify further, or participate in training to further your skills, find out where this happens, how much it costs and how to go about it. Qualifying further and preparing for greater responsibilities is most vital in your career growth plans. Maybe a mentor would help, and work most productively with him – within the company or outside the organisation. 

Again if possible this should be within the 2 to 3 to 5 year objectives you set for yourself. Plan and work out to achieve this to get where you desire to be, and within the time-frame. Qualify, train and prepare at every step towards your growth.

Implementation: Again in 2 years, 3 years and 5 years – HOW? Pin it on a board facing you, have it in a drawer, save to your desktop. Like a critical path analysis chart. Whatever is written on (the more places that you can see often the better), refer to it often to remind yourself of how concrete your plan is, and how think of how determined you are to get there. Add notes and make annotations when new ideas arise, when strategies are in place and working well, or when you achieve something one by one in 1 year, 2 years and 3 years. You will undoubtedly find you are working within your plan and growing as per your goals towards growth.

And above all achieving!

Career planning for you, or for anyone like you, should be a constant exercise of learning, and taking advantage of opportunities that arise all through your jobs and professional life – in the short-term and long-term. Your career planning should be a process that helps you see and use your maximum potential within situations, and achievements. 


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