The beginning of the year is a good time for career evaluation along with reviewing or developing a plan to move forward or start something new.
It’s not unusual to experience two or three careers in a life- time these days. Industry evolution and simply wanting to do something different are legitimate reasons for change. Remember too that you are responsible for your career, not your manager or company. Here are four steps to help in writing a career plan designed for you.
Step 1 – Self-Discovery. Look within your company and identify job roles that are of interest. Search outside the company and see what is available. Sites such as Monster and Dice can help with this exercise. Finally write down your passions and jobs you always wanted but have never been able to obtain. This will get you going the right direction.
Step 2 – Take inventory of what skills you currently possess. Make one list of skills you own and are specific to your current career. A second can contain “transferable” skills that would be applicable on any path. This might include communication, people and management skills. Be sure to think about what you would be willing to sacrifice financially and even relocation opportunities. Armed with your inventory decide on a target position and list out gaps between you and that role.
Step 3 – Once you have that information you’re ready to move to step three and write your job plan that contains your objective and what it will take to get you there whether it be training, certifications or experience. Use the 70/20/10 development model as a guideline where 70% of your development is through experiential methods such as volunteering, professional organizations and knowledge forums found on websites like LinkedIn. 20% of development can be obtained through relationships that might include mentoring programs, job sharing, alumni associations and just talking to people who are already doing the work. The last 10% is formal classroom or online training.
Step 4 – Execute the plan. Take advantage of online training, community colleges and resource material. As you act on your plan but sure to revisit it regularly and revise as necessary. Some deviation from the plan can be expected but your objective of a new job should remain the same. By next year you could be at a new level in your career.