A career plan is a tool that you and I should have at every stage of our career journey. A good habit to develop that can change your career is to create a career plan every 5 years.
Make sure and check out this article that I have written on habits that can positively change your career. A plan will ensure that you remain on course and that you maintain a career growth mindset.
The following are 10 top questions to creating a 5 year career plan that gets results.
What is your career vision?
The starting point of creating a successful career plan begins with outlining your career vision. Your vision is your compass and will provide a source of direction, focus and clarity.
Your vision will dictate what courses you take, what skills to acquire and what roles you should go after. Most significantly, it will eliminate the things that you should stop doing.
So take some quiet time in prayer and get a pen and paper. List out all the things you see yourself accomplishing in your career journey. You may also want to consider creating a career vision board.
Remember that nothing is off limits. Write down even the weirdest or far-fetched thing that you will like to accomplish. Don’t rush this process because it could take some time.
What are your strengths?
Once you have identified your vision, write down the things that you excel at.
If you are unsure especially if you are creating a career plan after graduation or writing your career plan after studying feel free to ask your friends and family for their input.
In addition, pay close attention to what people tend to ask you to do for them. Do they usually ask you to draw or write for them? Perhaps these are areas of strength.
If you want to utilise a more scientific approach to understanding your strengths, then the Values in Action (VIA) Character Strengths is a great tool that you can utilise.
This assessment was developed by psychologists Dr. Martin Seligman and the late Dr. Christopher Peterson. The VIA Character Strengths is a free personality test that has been utilised by over six million people.
The results of this test will provide a list of 24 strengths that you can use as a starting point.
What are your weaknesses?
Knowing your weaknesses is of paramount importance as it provides you with areas that you need to tackle.
This step requires a great deal of introspection to identify aspects where improvement is required. Writing down your weaknesses is the first step in acknowledging them.
What are your favourite hobbies?
Hobbies are the activities that you enjoy doing in your spare time. Your hobbies can be an incredible indicator to potential career paths.
Imagine being paid to do something that you already enjoy. As Marc Anthony says in his famous quote, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Therefore, think of the activities that you enjoy doing and explore if they can be potential career paths. Per venture you decide that it is not an avenue that you will like to explore full time, then you may be able to develop it into a part time business opportunity.
Career diversification is critical not only in varying your sources of income but to deal with any sudden changes in your main career. I have written an article on the importance of career diversification which you can also review.
Redundancy and restructuring can occur at any time and without warning. Family commitments and career desires may change.
Having other career options reduces the stress associated in the event that one career source cuts off. It also provides alternative options should you feel the need to pivot in the future.
Based on career theoretical framework, what career best suits you?
There could be times when we are completely lost and need career planning advice. Besides enlisting the support of career coach, one creative approach is to consider scientific tools developed by career theorists.
A career theorists whose work has been used extensively in career guidance and counseling is John L Holland. Holland created a career test which includes 48 questions which takes about 5 minutes to complete.
This test produces a three letter code result. Holland’s test groups test takers into 6 key personality types being realistic, artistic, enterprising, investigative, social and conventional. Under each of these personality types recommendations are made on which job is most suitable to each personality type.
What are your fears?
We all face some type of fear in our daily lives which we must confront if we want to achieve our goals. Gandhi when he initially became a lawyer had a fear of public speaking. Muhammad Ali had a fear of flying. He overcame this fear and was able to become one of the greatest boxers of all times.
However, these great leaders demonstrated how determined they were to overcome the fear that was holding them back to excel in their respective fields. Make sure and check out articles that I have written on powerful life lessons of Kobe Bryant, Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Phil Knight, Lee Iacocca and Muhammad Ali.
Understanding how fear plays a role in our lives will help us face it. A useful tool to assessing your fear type was developed by Ruth Soukup. After surveying more than 4,000 persons, Soukup discovered that there was a tendency for fear to show up in 7 distinct patterns.
This is known as the Fear Archetypes. These seven types of fear archetypes are the procrastinator, the rule follower, the people pleaser, the outcast, the self-doubter, the excuse maker and the pessimist.
The free version of this test reveals your top Fear Archetype. Feel free to click the previous link to take the test. An extensive report is available at a premium.
Being aware of your fears is the first way to managing it and overcoming it. I have taken this assessment and it was enlightening. I trust you also find it useful.
What are your values?
Your value system is your belief, the way you see the world. Reflecting on your values is critical as it will help you understand what roles align with your world view.
From your world view you may determine that jobs in certain sectors may not be great fit for you.
As an example, if your preference is not to work on weekends then jobs in hospitality sector unless agreed with the employer may not be an ideal fit.
What soft skills do you excel at or need to further improve?
Soft skills are those added competencies that assist us in succeeding in relevant field. As an example, the ability to be an effective planner could be soft skill required by a marketing manager.
Therefore, reflect on your career vision and write down soft skills that you believe will complement your educational skills to excel at jobs in your preferred field.
What career options are available in your preferred field?
Researching the career options available in your field is the next step in creating your career plan. Reviewing job profiles will help you understand what skills and experiences recruiters are looking for.
In addition, you can identify potential companies that you may want to work for. LinkedIn is a powerful tool that you can use to review the experiences of persons who work for the businesses in your desired field.
Websites such as glassdoor.com, indeed.com and caribbeanjobs.com are sites that you can explore to get a global perspective of jobs in your field.
What gaps/skills do you need to acquire to get your dream job?
Finally, after collating answers to all 9 of the above questions you should be able to have a clearer perspective. You should now have insight of your vision, strengths, weaknesses, fears, values and prospective career opportunities.
Patterns and themes should emerge which will help you understand what your dream role might look like.
It will also help you understand what gaps exist and how to fill them as well as how to further refine and improve on your strengths.
At this stage, you should be able to create a list of defined actionable steps. You may determine that you need to take a course, get a degree, hire a coach or seek out a mentor. Check out this article that I wrote on free and budget friendly online learning websites which you may be able to leverage.
It is critical that timelines are attached to each actionable step with regular updates to ensure that you are progressing. The most important step is that you take action daily.
There are other career planning related articles on this blog which you may find valuable. Feel free to click any of the links below to explore:-
The Importance of Career Planning
17 Free Career Aptitude and Personality Tests
5 Proven Principles Guaranteed To Elevate Your Career Planning
The Importance of Creating A Career Vision
The Importance of Career Diversification
29 Awesome Free and Budget Friendly Online Learning Platforms
Career planning is a critical aspect of our career. The career planning advice detailed above provides a blue print that you can use to craft a career plan that gets you results.
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