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Tips for Career Planning at Any Age or Career Stage

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago
  • Author:by VANRATH

​Research has found that the average worker will look to change their career path 5-7 times in their lifetime, so career planning is an activity you should consider at least once a year.

Succeeding in an everchanging workplace requires a career management plan. Employers want to attract, hire, and retain employees who provide the best value. Consider yourself as a product to sell and create a strategy for marketing your value to prospective employers.

Here are 10 steps you can take right now to develop a career plan that will get you where you want to be professionally:

  1. Keep an up-to-date CV - One of the most important steps in planning for the future of your career is to be ready when opportunities present themselves. Regardless of your industry or career level, learning how to write a CV and keeping it up to date is something you should consider doing regularly. You can find our tips on how to write a good CV here. Find a day or weekend at least once a year and schedule time to truly focus on what you want out of your career.

  2. Reflect on your career path since your last career planning session - Research shows reflection increases productivity and performance, so take time to think about your current situation and the path you want to follow. Are you happy with your career path so far? What could you have done better or differently? What can you change in the future? When you understand yourself and what you really want, it’s a lot easier to create a plan that suits your goals and your lifestyle. You can find our blog on are you happy in your career here.

  3. Reflect on what you like, dislike, need, and want from work - Our likes and dislikes change over time, so it’s always a good idea to reflect on what you feel strongly about in your life and career. Make a list of what you like and dislike about your job. Hopefully you still enjoy a lot of your work activities, but if that’s not the case, it might be time to start considering a new job or career. It’s also important to have a clear and meaningful purpose that you find emotionally engaging. What do you really need from your work? To make a difference? To become financially independent?

  4. Keep a record of your achievements - Most of us don’t keep a track record of work achievements; however, this is not only useful for building your CV, it’s also useful for career planning. Learning to track and write about your professional accomplishments will serve you well when working toward your next career goal.

  5. Identify your transferable skills - Maybe your job title is Business Analyst but you have a huge amount of project management experience – skills that could be applied to other jobs. Think beyond your current job title by considering your goals and how the skills you have now would be useful in a new role. Make a list of relevant transferable skills to add to your CV.

  6. Set career goals - While you can be successful in your career without setting goals, you can be even more successful with goal setting. What are your short-term (within a year) and long-term (within five to 10 years) career goals? You probably already know about SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. Always write them down and share the list with someone. This will help you to create a sense of accountability. Another big part of career planning is reviewing and adjusting these goals on a regular basis – and developing new goals once you accomplish your previous ones. So, each time you sit down for a career planning session, break out this list and review it.

  7. Explore new education or training opportunities - Never miss a chance to learn and grow more as an employee and individual. Part of career planning is finding training opportunities, courses, or workshops that will help you further your career. If your company offers professional development opportunities, take advantage of them. This is free money and can be valuable in reaching your goals.

  8. Leverage and learn from others - Build relationships with leaders within and outside of your organization, attend job-related conferences, and explore other events. The better your network, the more opportunities you have to learn from others who’ve enjoyed success. To find out more about other possible career options, you can conduct some informational meetings with colleagues or managers – people are generally willing to share advice if you ask.

  9. Research further career advancement opportunities - A fun part of career planning is picturing your career in the future. Where will you be in a year or in five years? While it’s impossible to plan everything, it’s always a good idea to know where you’re going and what various career paths are available to you. Regularly reviewing and planning will make you better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career. Steer your career deliberately, but also be open to life surprising you with new adventures even if they don’t exactly match the destination you had in mind.

  10. Talk to the experts! - Career planning can be overwhelming if you are unsure of what to do, or what your current skills might be a good fit for. At VANRATH we have been building career success stories for over 20 years, so we are highly confident that we can help you find the right career and get you the right job.

You can call us on 028 9033 0250 to speak with one of our consultants directly, or email belfast@vanrath.com. We look forward to hearing from you!