Success requires planning, focus and dedication. Results take time to show up and are a function of discipline and dedication. The best course of action is to draft a plan to meet milestones in a quick and assertive manner. Check out the following tips to build an effective career plan.
1. Conduct a Self-Assessment
A personal evaluation is key before establishing any goals. Enumerate your main strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to establish whether the weaknesses can be improved upon and how to go about addressing them.
2. Define your Objectives
It is essential to map out personal and professional ambitions. Reflect about where you wish to be in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years and how to go about meeting those milestones in the respective time frames. A job promotion, a new career direction or starting a company are examples of valid objectives.
3. Develop Strategies
One must develop a strategy to achieve each milestone along the way. What must be done, starting today, to you one step closer towards realizing a longer-term goal? How should these strategies be executed over time? Invest in the accumulation of technical competencies, develop behavioral abilities or learn a new language. In essence, find out what needs to be done and get going!
4. Seek Role Models
Look at those who achieved success as a source of inspiration and learn from their personal stories. These cases should provide technical guidance and motivational fuel in the pursuit of your personal goals. There is no shortage of successful individuals to point you in the right direction.
5. Keep a Written Plan for Consultation
Keep a physical draft of your career plan to manage challenges and accompany progress toward achieving self-prescribed goals. Make sure you consult the plan periodically (say, every month). This will be instrumental to keep your goals fresh in your mind and to document any unanticipated difficulties (perhaps beyond your control, which may delay certain milestones). For example, in a recession, an entrepreneur may be hit with funding restrictions which may legitimately postpone the execution of a business plan.
Making a career move in 2016 should begin with a career assessment. What would you like to do to bring you career satisfaction? And what careers are hot and what are not.
These assessments will help you decide what career path you want to take. Let’s begin with what kind of career.
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6. Keep Notes as you go
Make sure the career plan makes room for notes. Lessons learned along the way should be jotted down. Also, document any divergence from the plan and explain which actions can be taken to get back on track. The personal account increases the chances of staying on course and may also provide elements for potential revisions to the initial plan as you learn more about yourself and challenges you face along the way.
The important rule is to not abandon your objective(s) entirely or set very high goals in unrealistic time frames (i.e., build a Fortune 500 company two years out of college). Also, stay alert for too many changes to your plan as this may be an indication of a lack of direction. A career plan is also not meant to be a straight jacket and must allow for flexibility as has been noted by some authors (http://www.forbes.com/sites/actiontrumpseverything/2012/07/20/why-career-plans-are-dangerous/ and http://www.careercornerstone.org/carplan.htm).
Have you developed your own game plan to help achieve your professional goals? Drop us a line and/or share this article with your friends. The more we share personal accounts on a community level via social media, the stronger we become individually by feeding off of what worked and staying clear of reported pitfalls!