The direction and development of a career path takes some careful planning and decision-making. People may tell you to take every opportunity that crosses your path, but is this really the best advice when it comes to what you want to do for a living? Seizing opportunities is a great thing to do, certainly, but when it comes to your career, some serious strategic thought is required for each move you make. Here are some points to consider.
Plan, plan, and plan again
We cannot stress how important this bit is. Planning is a good idea for most things in life, but when it comes to your career, there is definitely no ‘winging’ it. You need to decide where you want to be and plan out how you want to get there. That end point is crucial – you may have multiple options as to how you get there, and there may be changes to the plan along the way, but as long as you have that end point in your sights, you will get there.
You don’t have to go it alone. Some people seek out mentors, some people bend the ear of someone already in the position they aspire to get to, others get help from professional career advisors. Choose the option(s) that works for you and use it as much as you need. You don’t have all the answers, so getting help from someone else is incredibly useful.
It is one thing to know where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. It’s quite another to be able to forge that path. You invariably will need the help of others. Networking and building solid professional relationships is a great source for that help and can open up many more options for you.
Assess your CV
You have the plan, the goal, the network and the mentor. Now you need to look at what you have in terms of your CV. Do you have the qualifications to get to where you want to be? If not, you need to add it into your plan to improve your skills and ensure you’re eligible for the path you’ve chosen.
Stick with it
All the planning and thought around your career path doesn’t guarantee an easy ride, it simply makes it easier than it would have been without it. This brings us to our final piece of advice – stick with it. When it gets difficult and you feel as though you are making little progress, do not get knocked off your path. Remember you planned it out, you know where you want to be and how you want to get there. If things look like they’re not working out, go back to the plan and make a change to it, but stay the course and keep that enthusiasm going – It will be so worth it in the end.
Planning out your life in terms of a career can be daunting. Doing it in easy to manage steps and keeping that end goal in sight can make it all much easier and make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed.