Build your career plan step by step
Have you taken the time to reflect on where you are in your career? Have you progressed or are you stuck? Are you happy? What do you want out of your job and life in general? Are your work choices meeting your personal or professional goals?
Planning and identifying your goals may take time and effort. However, if you keep asking yourself these questions throughout your career you will be able to position yourself on the right track and focus your energy on going after what you want.
Here are our 10 steps to build an effective career plan:
1. Examine and reflect on what is important to you
One of the best decision-making strategies is to address and examine how your decisions fit into all phases of your life, including those that appear unrelated. Start by making a list of your talents, passions, values, elements of your ideal lifestyle and employment environment.
It does not have to be work-related – everything is relevant. Some questions to ask yourself include: what are my talents? What am I good at? What do I feel passionate about? What kind of environment do I work well in?
2. Evaluate and think about your likes and dislikes
It is easy for someone to say they liked “that job” or not, but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what it was they did or did not like. You need to analyse your past work experiences and discover your likes and dislikes in each work setting, evaluating it based on your peers, manager(s), environment and responsibilities. During this exercise you may notice that these might have changed over time, and this will help you recognise what motivates, stimulates and drives your performance.
3. List what it is you want or need from your job/career
Brainstorm on what your ideal job is. What do you want your future to look like? Ask yourself: what is your definition of career success? Where am I now and where do I want to be?
4. List your past accomplishments
Reviewing your past and current achievements will uncover successes that can have a significant affect on your next steps.
Assessing your career opportunities and mapping out your accomplishments will allow you to target jobs that will give you the chance to excel.
5. Search for the ideal job
Start your job hunt by looking at different roles that you might be interested in to help you prioritise your job opportunities. Look not only at job titles but also job content, your transferable skills, talents and values.
6. Plan and set career goals
Assess those jobs against your values, ideal lifestyle and the environment you work well in etc – only then can you start setting your career goals and develop your road map.
7. Learn, grow and develop
It is essential to keep developing your skills, abilities and knowledge. Development is key for professional and personal growth to move forward in your career.
Whether you are attending a workshop to develop new skills or learn a new language, take charge of your progression and be on top of your game.
8. Review your career on a yearly basis
By doing this, you will be better prepared for uncertainties and roadblocks and feel more confident in your career choices and path.
9. Take action
With all the information at hand, the next step is to act. Ensure you set up clear goals and timelines for you to be accountable.
10. Keep in mind the unexpected
Don’t forget that plans are not set in stone and that it is important to prepare to change it if and when necessary.
Salma El Shurafa is the founder of The Pathway Project, a creative coaching practice based in Dubai, which offers executive leadership and career development for individuals, entrepreneurs, organisations and government entities