What is career planning and will it skyrocket your success to the next level?
What is Career Planning?
It’s not getting up and just “making the donuts” every day. If you’re doing the same thing day in and day out with little passion for it, you need to build and start working on your career plan.
First, what is it?
Career planning simply your long and short term goals for your career. Where do you want to go with your career? What can you envision for yourself?
Why Do You Need A Career Plan?
The world of work is changing. Job security is dead, but that doesn’t have to be bad news for you. What it does mean is that you need to be thinking about what happens to your career – not just believing that your company is going to take care of you. Did you know:
- Right now 34% of the American workforce is employed as freelancers, expected to rise to 50% in 2020.
- 2 billion jobs are expected to disappear by 2030 (due to changing technology) to be replaced by new ones.
- 91% of Millennials don’t intend to stick with their jobs for more than 3 years, which means rapid job change is becoming the norm.
I don’t say any of this to scare you. Instead, I want you to be prepared.
The best thing you can do for your career is to have a plan and to be in the driver’s seat instead of letting someone else tell you what is happening next in your career.
Creating a Career Plan
So how do you get from where you are now – stuck in a job you probably don’t love, but need for the time being – to laddering up into something you love? First, you need to decide what you want to achieve.
You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do in your career or the companies you want to work for, or have your plan perfectly mapped out.
I know you’re not psychic. Just think about it in broader terms:
Do you want to write a book?
Do you want to become a top sales rep?
Do you want to have a job that allows you plenty of work/life balance?
Do you want to start your own business?
Do you want to make it to the C-level?
You may not know what you want yet, so it may require some thinking and soul searching, but that is work you can do. I’m guessing there are dreams in there, and you have to ask yourself if they are things you can make a reality, or if you should just give them up.
That is another deep question you’ll have to ponder on the way to making a real plan for your career.
Some soul searching questions include: What do you want? What are you willing to work for? What do you believe can be real for you?
Once you answer those you’ve created a vision – something you’re going after. That vision should be powerful and compelling. It should make your spine tingle with excitement and your tummy do backflips.
It should make you more excited than a celebrity sighting in your favorite restaurant on your birthday.
You should be that excited about it – because if you’re not, you should probably go back to the drawing board and come up with some other options about what you’re going to do with your whole. entire. life.
Following Your Vision
Your vision will guide you along your path, but it’s going to be a high level vision. It’s going to be something like “become a bestselling author of children’s books.” That vision doesn’t tell you how you’re going to achieve it, it just tells you what the end result is. So the next step is to break down your vision into goals.
“How the heck am I going to achieve this?” you might wonder.
There are several strategies you can use to answer that question.
- Look at the path other successful people have taken to achieve the same goal. Study their success, connect with them, interview them, learn everything you can.
- Plot your own course. What path do you see based on your connections and your current situation? Maybe you already know some people in the industry and you could use those connections to leap ahead of where most people can.
- Trial and error. Sometimes you may start out on one of these paths, but then realize that something needs changing. Maybe you need to go in your own direction or your whole vision needs revamping. Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean it’s written in stone.
Following your vision can take a long time. It can involve things like:
- Networking – connecting with the right people to help you learn and achieve what you want.
- Job Jumping – being strategic about the jobs you take so that you put yourself in a position to be qualified for what you ultimately want to do, and to know the right people.
- Starting your own business – you may have to start your own business to accomplish your vision, because it may not exist anywhere. You have to be the creator.
- Defining your brand – your vision is about what you want, and your brand is about communicating to the world who you are. Your brand is important because you always need to sell yourself in this new economy (or YOUconomy). People are at the center of it. And if no one knows what they are getting when they “buy” you (hire for a job or as a client in your business) you won’t get very far.
- Personal development – you’ll constantly need to be working on yourself and pushing toward success. No one else will do it for you.
Define Your Goals
Your career plan will have short and long term goals.
You might realize that in order to become a children’s author you will need an agent, for example. There may be several steps along the way to doing that, and you’ll need to take a step towards each of those things.
You might need more skills, education or experience, and gaining those things might become goals.
You may need to connect with the right people or maybe it’s about figuring out the right strategy in your career.
Whatever it is, the question is always “What is the next thing I can do to bring me closer to my vision?”