In the process of effective career management, one step entails career planning. These are specific strategies to take that will lead you to a fulfilling career path. It is one thing to plan and to have a goal, which we talked about the last time. But without specific steps to take, the goal becomes nothing more than a dream – an unfulfilled dream.
In career planning, there should be specific strategies you will use to get you to your goal. As in self-assessment, you need to assess and investigate a particular job or career you are interested in. This means researching it fully. This can involve:
- the type of schooling or certifications needed; how long can this take and how much money it may cost; what will be the return on investment for your present job or to progress within you company or industry
- the state of the industry – is there hiring going on (as opposed to layoffs), it is a saturated market; for example, this may not be the best time to become a real estate agent due to the depressed market
- the pay scales for the job/industry
- businesses that hire for the job; investigating these organizations and their hiring procedures. Talk to friends or family that may work in these organizaions, or can direct you to someone who does. Get first-hand knowledge
- a written plan with time-frames.
One step that I find most people don’t consider is to evaluate their preferred work environment. This means looking at the type of environment you prefer to work in or do your best in; do you like to work in-doors or out; do you like to be able to move around or are you satisfied with sitting at a desk or cubicle all day; do you like “action” or prefer a quieter environment. These all impact our level of satsifaction and involvement with both the job and the organization and are an important part of effective career planning.
Other steps to take in career planning may include attending career planning classes or workshops, self-help books, or working with a career coach. The key to effective career planning is to strategize and continually review those strategies, which helps you keep ‘your eye on the dream’.