It is never too early to start career planning, whether you are still a high schooler, or an undergraduate, whichever chapter you are at with your life. Career planning is crucial as it helps you to better prepare for the workforce environment and what you wish to get out of your career.
This article will guide you through THE 6 steps in career planning and why career planning is important for you.
Why is career planning important?
1 – Have a clear sense of direction for the type of career you are looking for
Career planning will make you think about your work style, work habits and every little thing from your character to your habits. All these will help you decipher what type of jobs best suits you.
2 – Helps you to have a clear goal in your mind
When you plan your career, maybe you already know what you are keen on doing in the future. It helps you to have a better sense of what skills and knowledge you will need to reach your dream job.
3 – Know what to expect
When you prepare for something, you are also essentially mental prepping yourself. This mental prep process is extremely useful, it calms your anxiousness when it comes to the d-day. You will know what you might expect, what might go wrong and what can happen – only because you have a career planned way ahead to know!
Hence, career planning will always be useful and effective before actually moving into the adult workforce. Here is THE 6 step process of career planning.
6 steps process of career planning
1 – Self-assessment & exploration
You can try out self-assessment tests to explore the fields in depth, which helps you to get a better perspective. You will be surprised to find out that there are so many opportunities and possibilities available.
From the assessment, you will also be able to find out what kind of skills, educational requirements and knowledge you will need to be successful in the various fields. These assessment tests are excellent too for helping you to recognise your strengths, interests and hobbies.
These are the factors that are commonly overlooked, but extremely important for career planning.
2 – Conduct research
Research is useful and ideal for when you are keen to find out more about the different fields in the workforce. You can start by meeting with someone who is working in the field that you are interested in.
It is advisable to meet people in the same field but hold different responsibilities and roles, to help you to get a better perspective on things.
Meeting with somebody in the field can also help clear any doubts you may have, so ask away!
That includes asking them about skills requirements, average salary, and satisfaction with the job. For example, you can do this by searching online or reaching out to those working in these roles.
This is a great networking opportunity too, in which you can slowly build up a professional network.
3 – Decision making
You may not have only one dream career after your assessment, you may have sparked interest for many different roles and positions now. Fret not, this is time you make a decision to specialise in a few and narrow down your choices.
This will require more research and more information will be needed to make further decisions. Think about the pros and cons of each role and most importantly, ask yourself if you would enjoy yourself in that role. You can rank your options to help you have a clearer view of what you are looking at. If you have a list of 5, be sure to pay attention to your second option as well, should you change your mind about the first.
4 – Building your resume
Now that you are aware of the skill sets and knowledge you might need for your interested job role, you will have to build up your resume.
A great resume makes you stand out from the crowd and could land you in interviews and offers easily.
Here are some ways you can build up your credentials, knowledge and skills:
– Doing internships related to your job
– Taking classes or courses that is related to your job (be certified)
– Join related professional associations or clubs on campus
LinkedIn is a great networking tool that many professionals and companies use to see your growth as a professional individual. LinkedIn allows you to upload your resume, and indicate your respective skill sets. Your profile will be opened to the public and you will also be able to network with professionals from other companies by connecting with them.
5 – Experimentation
This is a vital part of your career planning. Yes, we can plan and retrieve unlimited information about your interested job role, but what is the most practical way to understand if the job fits you, is to try it out yourself.
It might not be what you are expecting or looking for until you give it a shot. Fortunately, there are some ways you can do this. You can consider asking those who work in your interested role for an interview. You will be able to find out what they do day-to-day in detail. Alternatively, you can try the role out for yourself by applying for the job role as an internship or part-time.
Only by receiving first-hand experience will allow you get a better insight into the position.
6 – Action plan
Having an action plan is like having a plan for your career plan. This may sound ridiculous and funny, but having an action plan of what you need to do to get to your final step.
This action plan will include any obstacles and problems you may find along the way and you should have a clear plan of how you are going to overcome them.
These obstacles could include lack of skills, education, finance, time or family needs. With every obstacle, there will be a solution to overcome them. You will have to be patient and trust the process.
Next, your action plan should also include what type of skills are required to lay your foundation. How will you go about acquiring the skills you need? What do you need to do? How are you going to manage your time so you can fit it into your life?
Finally, your action plan should show you a clear map and path you need to take to venture onto your destination.
The journey may be long, may be difficult, but remember to always be patient and trust the process. You may find the process even more eventful and fulfilling than actually attaining your job. Enjoy the process. Tutopiya wishes you all the best!