Planning a career in advance helps your mind to be prepared for what needs to be done in the future. Career planning is a long and complicated process that is to be taken alone. People can offer pieces of advice, but it is you who has to sail your boat.
Assess and Introspect
The very first and foremost step while planning a career is to know yourself. Figure out what are your interests, skills, merits, and demerits. You should also analyze your personality, your ideas, your qualifications, and relevant experience. Not to forget, the biggest question is what do you actually want to be in the fututre.
The first foundation stone is to figure out your own self, and this is the most necessary one. How are you supposed to be successful at your career when you are not so sure about what you want, what are you good at, and so much more?
Here are some common questions you must have answers to:
- What do I want to achieve as my final goal?
- What am I good at?
- What are my biggest strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- Do I have the educational qualifications for my dreams?
- Do my dreams align with my merits?
Until and unless you have a huge interest in something, it is going to be a little difficult for you to do it in the long run. A successful career is one that makes you happy with what you are doing. Going ahead just under peer pressure or with what others feel is not the right choice. Test yourself to figure out what are your strengths and weaknesses, and the career path you should go with. Write down long-term and short-term goals for yourself. This will help you to produce a result of self-assessment.
It is not just the list you have to prepare, but also the choice you have to make. You cannot juggle between tens of career options. You have to pin down one and put your best into achieving that single dream. Multitasking might not be the best option when it comes to a successful career.
Do Enough Research
Once you have figured what you want to do, the next step is to look out for what is available for you. You need to research multiple things for example, what does the market ask for in a candidate for the specific job profile or how much an average candidate gets paid. There are hundreds of questions on similar lines to which you must find answers.
Diving into the market without any research is just a leap of faith that might or might not be successful. Therefore, go ahead and analyze everything. Create a list of jobs that suit your interests and write down what they require. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does the job profile align with what I want to do?
- Is this a short-term goal or a long-term goal?
- What skills should I possess to be eligible for the job role?
- Do I have the required set of skills or not?
- Will I be satisfied with the pay I receive?
- Am I suitable for this and vice-versa?
Once you have the answers to all the questions, and you are done collecting enough information about the market, you are done with the second foundation stone for making a successful career plan.
Figure Out The Missing
Once you are ready with your possible job roles, go ahead to figure out what is needed. Write down the skills and kinds of experience each job profile requires. Check with yourself if you have those. You can also get in touch with professionals to get more information regarding how an ideal candidate looks like.
The next step is to bridge the gap. You need to gather the relevant skills, experiences, resources, and whatever else is required to become the ideal candidate. Go on the journey of gaining what you lack to fit in what you want to be. To polish your skills, you can opt for distance learning courses that bring you closest to the skills you want.
Suppose that you want to be a software developer and you have relevant qualifications for it. However, there is one coding language you are not so good at and the language is in demand. Your immediate action must be to try learning the language and becoming a professional at it. You can opt for in-person classes or take online courses for gaining the skill that you lack. You can also get a step ahead by getting certifications in the course. It is all about reaching the final goal of what you want to be from the starting point of what you are at present.
Become Responsible and Polish Your Soft Skills
There are many candidates out there who have enough qualifications to be in the race, however, they are not. Often it is because of their attitude towards life. Your career is just about you and nobody else. You should be the only one responsible for it. However, a lot of candidates aren’t responsible enough. If you want to be the ideal candidate, then you ought to polish your personality and your soft skills before you go over to pursue the technical ones.
You need to hold yourself responsible for every happening in your life, be it good or bad. You are the sole decision-maker and you must stand strong in your opinion. In case, anything bad happens, you should take responsibility for it.
It is impossible to be able to work with only technical skills. Every job requires some kind of soft skills, be it leadership, communication, social skills, etc. If you are someone who is not so good at the soft skill side, it is time you should start working on it. Figure out your weaknesses and polish them. There are multiple online sources that help you to become better at soft skills.
Create a Realistic Plan
Everyone had dreams and plans regarding realizing them. However, if you really want your dream to come true, the best way is to create a realistic plan to achieve that. For example, if you want to be a civil servant, you cannot just study for 24 hours every day for a month and be ready to ace the hiring process. You need to divide your goal into small milestones that you achieve slowly and gradually. Don’t run when you do not know how to walk. Start from basics, and grow till to become a professional.
To do all of that, you need to develop a realistic and practical plan. Your plan needs to have loads of actions involved. Write down your milestones and by when you must achieve them. Create a schedule, not an ideal one but a practical one. Write down your starting point and write down your goal. Go ahead with dividing the process into smaller goals. Remember that going slow is fine but you must be steady. Involve everything in the process. Make sure that you do not miss anything.
A successful career plan is all about making realistic plans and then going along with them consistently. Remember that there is no substitute for working hard to realize your dreams. We hope the list provided some useful insights on how to work with a career plan. If you enjoyed it, do share it further.
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Sandeep Bhandari is the founder of PrepMyCareer.com website.
I am a full-time professional blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I love anything related to the Web, and I try to learn new technologies every day.
All the team management, content creation, and monetization tasks are handled by me. Together with the team at PrepMyCareer, the aim is to provide useful and engaging content to our readers.