Planning is an integral process that applies to various disciplines in life. Artists will envision their paintings before creating their final masterpiece. Athletes will plan their workout routine and diet to reach their fitness goal. If something is important to you, then sufficient time will be spent in planning the process before setting out to achieve it. So, when it comes to your career, no less effort should be devoted to planning how to reach your future aspirations.
Here are six steps to creating a career-focused action plan:
Determine your career vision
If there is no target in front of you, any attempt to throw a dart will be both meaningless and pointless. Similarly, without a precise vision in mind, you will quickly lose the motivation and purpose in the proceeding steps. For that reason, it is important to take the time to set up a career vision. The more defined your vision is, the more tangible your target becomes in your mind.
Set SMART Goals
“Setting goals is the first step
in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins.
This is one of the crucial steps in your action plan. Setting precise goals for the short and long term will allow you to allocate your efforts and time appropriately. It will also help you stay focused and allow you to measure how far you are from achieving your vision. There are many goal-setting models available; perhaps the most effective and commonly used is the SMART model.
Gather information on different requirements and resources available to reach your goal
Once you have set goals in place, the next step is figuring out the requirements and the resources available. In addition to researching, networking can provide you with a lot of industry and professional information related to your field. For that reason, you should leverage networking platforms such as LinkedIn and keep a watch out for different networking events hosted on the Calendar of Events in Career Launch and the Telfer clubs social media pages.
List the tasks to be performed
Now that you can see the target, know the distance to your target and have gathered some insights on different throwing techniques – it’s time to take a shot. Based on the information gathered in the previous step, list the action items that are required to attain your goals and highlight the resources available for each task. As one of your tasks, register for workshops offered by the Career Centre that focus on career management skills such as resume writing and acing your interviews. Some of these activities can also count towards your Career Development Certificate.
Track your progress
One of the main features of an action plan is that it allows you to measure your progress. Have something on hand like a visual template that can help you track your progress for each goal and remind you of the next action step. Here is a sample to get you started.
Reflect and Reassess
People and companies continuously adjust and refine their plans to adapt to their situation, which makes planning a dynamic process. Job requirements, qualifications and processes are changing to satisfy the market’s needs. Therefore, take some time to reflect on the relevance of your goals and tasks, modifying them when necessary.
As we start this academic year, I invite you to take some time to create a career action plan if you don’t have one already. Be sure to make the best use of the resources available to you, especially the services offered by the Career Centre.