It might sound like a dull or perhaps unnecessary thing to do, but writing on Quint Careers’ website, Randall S Hansen says most people will change career several times and how successful you are at transitioning has a great deal to do with how much you’ve planned ahead.
Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead when you’re caught up in just getting through each day, but Hansen says every job-seeker should “take the time to step away from the day-to-day grind of work” and reflect on their career and where it’s heading.
“Think of career planning as building bridges from your current career to your next one; without the bridge, you may easily stumble or lose your way, but with the bridge there is safety and direction,” Hansen writes.
He divides the planning into short and long-term. The former can be anywhere between a year and a few years and focuses on developing realistic goals and objectives that can be met soon.
Hansen lists some career planning exercises to help with the process (these analyse your lifestyle, likes and dislikes, passions, strengths and weaknesses, definition of success, personality, dream job and current situation).
He says once you’ve done the exercises, start planning your next career move. Conduct detailed career research and figure out what qualifications you need to get there. Develop a plan to ensure you get the qualifications you need, including a timeline and action plans and set specific goals and priorities, he advises.
Long-term career planning covers five years or more. Hansen points out that because careers are rapidly changing, long-term career planning “should be more about identifying and developing core skills that employers will always value while developing your personal and career goals in broad strokes.”
Jide Awe writes that too many people in IT focus on certification and other career tools without any consideration for career growth.
He says that in choosing the steps you’ll take to achieve your career goals, you should look at what other people have done to enter the area of IT you’ve chosen.
“These actions and decisions may include training, certification, formal education, work experience or internship. Some cases require a change of attitude, job, location or work environment.”
Awe also advises that career planning should be dynamic, not static.
“You need to be sensitive to changes in your career path by being flexible and open to new avenues… IT, as a fast growing and fast changing field, presents a challenge for all of us who want to work and succeed in IT. Keep yourself informed on a continuous basis.”
Awe reckons “it’s all about attitude”.
Mills is a Dunedin-based writer. She can be contacted at email@example.com.