Career Planning - A Resume Center Guide

Career Planning

In today’s highly competitive workplace where many people are applying for the same jobs, it is becoming increasingly important to have in place an effective career plan. This can help you to manage your job-hunting with greater success and can also ensure that you are only applying for jobs that you really want and are actually suitable for.

The first and most important step in preparing your career plan is to identify your skills, abilities, interests and preferred work style. You must be able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses if you are to be able to establish an effective career plan so you must be completely honest in your self-assessment. You should not only look at your skills but also at your personality as this too can determine the sort of job that you are suited for.

Ideally, your career planning should be based on where you want to be in five or ten years time rather than on how much you want to be earning. Understandably, salary is a major motivator for many people but it should not be the driving force behind your career plan. You should be looking for jobs that can ultimately get you to where you want to be, even though it may take some time to get you there. Make contact with people who are already working in the role you want to achieve, find out how they got there and plan what steps you therefore need to take.

The next stage is to think about what you want to achieve from your new job. Are you simply looking for greater job satisfaction? More money? Better working hours? New location? What are the motivations behind your job search? Once you have identified these, you can then identify what you do not want from a job. For example, you may not want to work in an office or you may not want to work on your own as much. It is important to get a balance between what you do want and what you do not want to ensure your satisfaction in your future career.

Take some time thinking about what job you would ideally like to do, carry out some research on the Internet and decide whether or not your attributes are in alignment with the essential criteria for such a role. When planning your career, it is important to aim high and be ambitious but also to be realistic. There is little point focusing on a career that is unobtainable but it is still worth considering roles that you can retrain for. You will not feel happy or fulfilled in a role that is beyond your capabilities and this can be seriously demotivating.

Career planning is an ongoing process that can be updated and changed according to whether or not you have developed any new skills since you prepared your career plan. Indeed, your own desires and ambitions may also change. It is important that your career plan is flexible enough for you to be able to consider other options that you may not have taken into account. If you have successfully identified your key strengths and weaknesses, and researched your target markets, the ideal opportunity should be out there for you.

Once your career plan is in place, all that is left now is to implement it! Having dedicated a considerable amount of time working out what you want from your career and how you can achieve it, you need to get out there and start to actively find your ideal job. Prepare an up-to-date resume and send it out in response to advertisements or to companies that you would like to work for. If possible, get feedback on unsuccessful applications and make any necessary adjustments to you career plan. No matter how long your career search takes, the career plan should be referred back to on a regular basis just to keep you focused on what you are aiming to achieve.

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