Career plans and pathways are often words associated with students or people commencing their career, where it seems as though you can create an ideal pathway to career success, everything will fall into place and you will live happily ever after!
Beyond these years, when people are actively living their careers, rarely do people take time to sit back, analyse their career and establish a clear plan. By this time, most people are too busy to think strategically about their careers or don’t have the financial flexibility to take time out of work to return to study, pursue a new career, or follow a plan.
A well-developed career plan outlines a preferred destination with the steps, experience, and training that you will need to do to progress on the journey. A career path gives you a direction and achievable goals to meet along the way to give you the confidence that you will reach your end goal.
Making time to think strategically about your career, what you want from it, your motivators, and developing a plan, can be a very powerful activity to do as an adult to put yourself back in the driving seat.
It doesn’t have to be hard.
Don’t overthink things.
Think of all of the jobs you’ve had. What do you enjoy? What do you dislike? What culture do you thrive in? What industries or sectors do you daydream about working in?
Start investigating career options and increase your knowledge about occupations by asking friends, family and colleagues about their jobs.
Fantastic career opportunities rarely just fall into people’s laps, they come about from planning, researching, and then implementing the plan. Everyone is going to face career setbacks, but with a career plan in place, you can pick yourself up and focus on the road ahead rather than looking back at the past.
Remember that career plans can be fluid and flexible. Just because you take the time to complete one doesn’t mean that they are set in stone and that you have to follow every step. Change is inevitable. Life will throw you curveballs and sometimes this may mean that your career needs to change to accommodate them. The road to your dream career is not usually a straight path, it often has lots of crossroads and obstacles that you need to navigate along the way.
Remember that career development doesn’t always mean that you need to move forward, take a promotion or get a pay rise. You may decide that you are happy at the exact level you are at but create a plan to take a sidewards step to work for a new organisation or even a backward step into a new industry while you gain new skills and experiences. The important question to ask is, will this job/position/pathway pivot my career into the direction that I want?
Decide on your ideal career and the desired jobs or training that will get you there. To get to your preferred destination, you will need to be strategic about the jobs that you take.
⇒ Identify your gaps
To identify a clear pathway and move your career in the direction that you have planned, you need to take time to look at the occupational profiles of your chosen career path and map out any gaps in your knowledge and skills. Without investing in training to develop these areas, it is unlikely you are going to be able to progress to the next stages of your career.
⇒ What are your non-negotiables?
What is it that you are wanting from your career? Is it a big pay check, the status of a senior role or perhaps flexibility and family friendly hours? Know what you are striving for and what will make you feel fulfilled in your career. Then create a plan to get there.
⇒ Approach it step by step
No one wants a career plan that is going to take 10 years for you to hit the first base. Make sure that whatever your long-term goal is, that you have a series of short-term, attainable steps that you can aim for along the way, to ensure that you can reach some smaller milestones while still keeping the bigger picture in mind.
⇒ Hold yourself accountable
Print your plan and pin it to your office wall to hold you accountable and continue to bring it to the front of your mind. Remember that every step you make will bring you one step closer to your ideal career, so focus on the step in front, not the whole staircase.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.