5 Steps to Plan Your Career

career strategies Jun 21, 2021

This is a hot topic amongst my clients and people that come around asking me about career planning and here’s a question for you:

 

Do you feel stuck or paralyzed in your career? 

 

You may be in your comfort zone and not know how to get out of it. Maybe you’re just entering the job market and you don’t know where to start because your parents told you that you had to study, find a job, and then you wouldn’t have to plan anything because companies have career plans. Indeed it used to be like that, but things are becoming different and will keep changing even more rapidly. 

I'm considered to be a resourceful person because others recognize myself as a courageous person, and courageous is a quality of resourcefulness. So I was wondering why people think I’m courageous. I realized that I'm a natural strategist, so what people identify as my trait of being brave and courageous, to me is nothing special. I have clarity of my own goals and I just go for them. I’ll take massive actions to reach whatever I dream. Therefore, I would like you to get inspired by my perspective and by my way of doing things. 

I’ve put together five steps for you to get a career plan and also deploy this plan. 

 

Step 1 – Career Goals

Get specific! I'm always talking about getting specific because people overthink all the time. Be straight to the point in your goals, that's how you’ll find clarity as well. If it’s unclear to you, start asking yourself how you want to feel at work. It’s better to ask how you want to feel than asking what you want. 

There are six aspects in which you can get specific.

  1. Job Title: What do you want to become professionally speaking? 
  2. Company / Industry: Name the company you want to work for or at least the segment or sector. 
  3. Company Size: If you don't know yet exactly the name of the company, maybe you can have a clue about the size. If you prefer to be in a huge multinational, a small company, or maybe a medium business.
  4. Company Culture: This is a hot topic because it is what gets people to be unhappy at the workplace. If you are, for example, an introvert that likes to be by yourself, and don't like to speak too much, it’s unthinkable that you should be working in the sales department of a huge company. You would be miserable for sure. 
  5. Freelancing: It's becoming very common nowadays to hire people to work on specific short term projects. So start figuring out if it works for you if you would like to be freelancing around.
  6. Target Income: It's not only about your salary. Money and value are the two most important variables when it comes to income. Money is directly related to your salary so you can figure out how much you want to earn and the value is the benefits. Whatever benefits you want, for example, company cars, company phones, health care, etc - those types of benefits that you can get in a negotiation. 

 

Step 2 – Requirements

Once you have set your career goals, think of what are the requirements to reach your goals. Address specifically your technical skills, think about your strengths as your assets and go for whatever is missing in terms of technical skills, finding courses and certifications for whatever is needed for you to get where you want to be. 

I can illustrate that with my case. I’m right now pivoting my career from Finance to People, as a Career Strategist. I am an entrepreneur and expert right now, so I've started a business. To do that, I thought it’d be valuable if I studied Human Resources. This is why I have gone through a Master's degree in HR, to add value to my clients, to be certified, and to deliver high-quality services. 

 

Step 3 – Lifelong Learning Plan

Be ready to unlearn how to learn. Keep up learning throughout your life, you won't stop learning and you won't stop studying. Having a lifelong learning plan is valuable to get the perspectives of how much time and money will be necessary, and where and what you are going. 

We are living in the knowledge era, it's very simple, easy, and accessible to look for information and courses. It's our turn to learn whatever we want. Be the change, be proactive, don't wait for your employer to say what you should study. 

 

Step 4 – Deploying Strategies

You have your goals, you know your requirements, and your lifelong learning plan. It’s time to act. This is when massive actions start to take place. You must work on your resume or CV, on your LinkedIn profile optimization, and do the networking. 

Many of you have the word “networking”. However, this is a modern way of establishing your brand. As an inspiration to recognize your style, read the book ‘Give and Take’ by Adam Grant. It's scientifically proven that those who are givers tend to be more successful in the long term, that's why it's super important for you to have this mindset when networking as well. 

 

Step 5 – Notice and Adjust

You know your career goals, you know the requirements, you have set up your lifelong learning plan and deployed strategies. What’s missing now? The answer is how to measure your progress. 

Milestones are fundamental to measure your progress. Stop to check, and change whatever isn’t working for you or whatever isn’t getting you the expected results.

 

Different results come when you start doing things differently, that's the key to success: massive actions + strategy. 

 

In conclusion, our career is one of the most important aspects of our lives. We spend more time at work than with our family. Working should be pleasant, fun, and something that is taking you out of the comfort zone and making you grow. I would also add that your career should be a complement to your life, it should not be the only thing or the most important thing in your life. 

Remember you don't have to be alone through all of that; nowadays you can hire a career coach, just like myself and many others out there, to exchange career thoughts. I wish I had this opportunity 20 years ago when I was joining the job market. Thank God we are living in the Knowledge Era!  

 

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