How To Create A Successful Career Plan

How To Create A Successful Career Plan

According to researchers, the average worker will change careers five to seven times in their lifetime. Career planning is an activity that should be done at least once a year.

For an employee to succeed in a constantly changing workplace, he/she requires a career plan. An employer always wants to attract, hire and retain an employee that provides the best value.


How To Create A Successful Career Plan

Developing a career plan can help you outline a clear path as you begin to look for a new job. It is important to set meaningful career goals.

The following are steps to take in creating a career plan:

  1. Know yourself: In choosing a career path for yourself, you need to evaluate your strength and weakness. Identify your vision, values, interests, skills abilities, and traits. This will help you to decide what you want from your next career move.

It is easier to create a plan that suits your goals and lifestyle when you understand yourself and what you really want.

  1. Explore your options: Explore your options and gather the necessary information about them. Find out the choices you have, find out what each one involves and check if there are other options that you have not considered.
  2. Evaluate your career options: In evaluating your career options, decide which career is the best for you at the current stage of your life. Look at the advantages and disadvantages of each option and make your choice.
  3. Always update your resume: One of the most important steps in creating a successful career plan is to have an updated resume. Having an updated resume gives you an avenue to apply for new jobs with ease when there are job vacancies.
  4. Frequently create a career plan: Once a year, find a day or week to focus on what you want to achieve out of your career and write it down.
  5. Reflect: Research has shown that reflection increases productivity and performance. Find a suitable time to think about your current situation and the path you want to follow. Your likes and dislikes change over time,  it is a great idea to reflect on what you feel strongly about in your life and career.

Make a list of what you like and dislike about your job. Knowing what you like and dislike will help you to create a successful career plan.

 While reflecting, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Are you happy with your career path so far?
    • What could you have done better?
    • What could you have done differently?
    • What are your future intentions regarding your career?
    • What do you really need from your work?
    • Are you there to make a difference or to become financially independent?
    • What actions do you need to take to reach your career goals?
  1. Set clear career goals: If you want to be successful in your career, set clear career goals. Setting clear career goals shows you the direction to take in your career. It is not just enough to set goals, set smart goals. The smart acronym stands for:

S: Specific

M: Measurable

A: Attainable

R: Realistic

T: Timely

When setting your career goals, make sure that the goals are specific, you can track the progress of the goals, the goals are attainable, and realistic and there’s a deadline (time) attached for the execution and completion of each goal.

Break down the goals into three categories: short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

  1. Document your achievement: Documenting your achievement is essential in creating a successful career plan. Writing down your professional achievement will serve you well when working towards your next career goal.
  2. Explore new education or training opportunities: As an employee, do not miss any opportunity to learn and grow. Planning your career includes finding training, courses, or workshops that will help you to go further in your career. If your company offers professional development opportunities, take advantage of them, it can be very valuable in reaching your career goals.
  3. Mentorship: It’s not enough to have a plan. If you want to succeed in a specific career path, the need to look for people that have attained the height you want to attain can not be over-emphasized. A mentor bridges the gap between your current position and where you are heading to. If you want to be successful, get a mentor to support you with your plan.
  4. Re-evaluate and update your plan each year: Time changes likewise the human mind. The plan you wrote three months ago may not be achievable due to changes in the economy, security insurgencies, and health-related issues. Always review your plan and check if what is in the plan can be achievable considering the state of things. If it’s achievable, you work with it, if it’s not, you replace it with a goal that is achievable. Ensure that your career goals are flexible enough so that you can change them when your ambitions or goals shift. The aim is to know if you are growing or not in regard to your career.


Why You Should Have A Career Plan

Everyone has a significant goal or aspiration that they hope to achieve in the future. For a lot of people, this includes a long-term career plan or dream job that they would like to obtain. While your goals may seem impossible to achieve, they can be manageable and achievable through the use of a career plan. Sometimes, life comes with uncertainties, having a career plan can serve as a tool in overcoming the stormy weather.

The following are reasons why you should create a successful career plan:

  1. Growth: Having a realistic career plan is an essential part of an employee’s career growth and personal development. Most people find it difficult to stay on track without goals. If your career is not growing, it is dying. The inability to put together a career plan that will help you to grow professionally can lead to a career crisis.
  2. Landing your dream job: If you want to land your dream job or position, a career plan will serve as a roadmap to help you to achieve it.
  3. Motivation: Without a plan, you can easily lose focus and motivation. Planning for your future and setting a specific timeline for accomplishing the things you want to achieve is an efficient way of ensuring that you never lose motivation along the way.
  4. Retirement: Unless your dream job is something that you want to do every single day of your life, your career plan can be used to determine the steps needed to smoothly transit into retirement.

In summary, when creating a career plan, always include what you will do, how you will do it, who you will seek assistance from and when things will be completed.


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