Having your own personal career plan is vital before you decide to make any job change. However, most people don’t plan their career in any great depth but they would like. They would, however, like to be earning a higher salary. For example, if somebody asked you what kind of salary you would like to be earning, you would probably have a very clear idea of what that ideal figure would be. But if the same person asked you what job you need to secure to achieve that salary, you might be less certain that you could secure that job or feel confident about performing within that role.
So what is the solution to personal career planning?
“Remember that the onus is on you to create your career vision and career development plan and to market and sell yourself into your next job. A career is not what you find but what you create,” says Sarah Berry.
Become your Profession
Personal Career planning is about continuous building rather than isolated jobs and instances. It is about increasing your knowledge and building up a portfolio of skills and experiences which are the kinds of asset that companies need and value. Too often people forget the building bit and get carried away by their emotions and by what seems a good idea at the time. For example, people start their career on a certain track and are quite happy for a while. But then they may decide it is time to move on, they may be pushed out involuntarily by the company or they may want to do something better or earn more. This is when mistakes are often made: people dive into jobs without assessing the impact this could have on their career.
So the key is to have a profession. A profession is what you do for a living, what you have spent time training to do or what you want to be doing. It is the crux of the career, giving it meaning, purpose and direction. Without it, a career will come unstuck, reach a halt or start to drift off on a tangent. It is then hard to sell a track record of this sort to an employer.
To develop within your profession you need to associate with it, hold the same values as it, and be committed to learn. Within any profession there are many fields or specialities of work which enable a person to build up his or her experience. How many fields are there within your profession? Fields are the bits that make you different from the competition. Fields are also the way to change career direction. For example, it is usually impossible to change from one profession to another without a considerable loss in earnings or position. The easiest way to change professions is to change fields and bridge the gap between the two professions without any loss of earnings.
“Try to build up a broad base of experience by changing fields regularly. Use fields to become an all-rounder within your profession and only then become a specialist. If you miss out on certain phases, recognise that you may need to work hard to fill in the gaps; but given a bit of effort, it is possible,” suggests Sarah in her e-book ‘How to Plan your Career‘.
Develop a Vision
Vision is key to gaining that next job, because if you know where you want your career to go, it is far easier to achieve it. A vision looks beyond the next job and further down your career path. The reason for this is that a career is vulnerable; anyone can have a few highlights or could face disappointments. The key is how you manage these situations. If you are in any doubt about your vision, consider filling in a professional career personality profile. For career planning advice, Sarah recommends a Career Choice Report for just £30.00.
“It is a very worthwhile investment as you can use it to gain an insight into your positive characteristics and establish what your career needs are. All profiles are positive and they often give people the confidence to project themselves and their career forward,” says Sarah.
Build your vision by:
- Assessing yourself and your skills. Understanding what motivates and drives you is explored in Sarah’s latest paperback, How to Love the Job You Do, available to download from Amazon Kindle . Is it increased pay/status, responsibility, or job fulfilment? “Do you really believe in yourself, your talents and your abilities?” If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you plan for greater things? If you don’t have the advantage of drawing upon inner confidence, then you will need to build yourself up. Try changing your attitude towards certain situations that you would normally dread or avoid. For example, instead of reverting to the negative see the positive in situations and experiences. Focus on your key skills. What are these and how could you really promote these on paper? Think about how you can show that you are a real asset to the organisation. Practice believing that you are capable of so much more. Notice how you feel and notice what resistance comes up in your mind.
- Doing your research. Talk to colleagues, contacts and people within your profession in order to build up an idea of the types of jobs open to you. Get your CV reviewed by an independent person to give you an honest view of where it may be letting you down. You need to tell the employer in the CV:
- How you will perform in the role
- How you can fit in with the company culture
- How you have gained recognition from what you have done
- How you have built your reputation
- And how you have become a specialist or expert in your field of work.
Does your CV do all this? If not, then make the investment now to sell yourself professionally on paper and discover how a new look CV will advance your career further.
- Visualising yourself within your new role. Practise the technique of visualising yourself in the new role. Imagine yourself looking at its functions, responsibilities and profile. Is this the job for you? When do you need to start applying?
Use other people to help you with your personal career planning advice
Watch, talk to and draw upon other people’s professional knowledge, reputation and skills when planning your career. These people will be experts in their field and will be higher up on the career ladder so their position, experience and expertise can help you to further your career. So how do you use these people?
- As a role model. Having a role model is an easy and worthwhile way in which to develop a career. A role model is a person you can watch closely to see how he/she deals with different people, situations and problems. The role model can pass on tips and techniques to save you time, energy and effort in the long run. Anyone can be a role model but it is usually a boss. Remember the emphasis of the relationship is on learning and progression and not on being pals.
- As a career mentor or counsellor. This relationship is different from having a role model because the mentor is not usually your boss but someone higher up than you in the organisation. The mentor benefits from the relationship because he/she is building up a reputation for developing people within the organisation. The benefit of a mentor is that he/she can offer you a confidential and open relationship because the mentor doesn’t appraise you. The role of the mentor is to advise, encourage and talk from a personal experience but avoid relying too heavily upon the personal.
People who have fulfilling careers have made it that way. They have invested in themselves and they have used this investment to fulfil their dreams and expectations. In short, they have made their own luck.
Focus your energy on building skills, learning from the people around you and creating a vision for the future. Become a real expert at your job and remember to sell yourself. Whatever you want, go and get it. If you want further career planning advice from Sarah Berry to discover how you can advance your career to new heights contact us by completing the form on this page.