Given the fast past lives we lead and the ever increasing commitments we have, it is no surprise that most people don’t really think to plan/map out their career pathways. In the broader scheme of career development though, career planning is vital.
There is a lot to gain from career planning no matter what career stage you are at. Having said that, career planning is particularly beneficial at the graduate level because it helps graduate understand how ‘entry level’ roles will eventually feed into the bigger picture. Many graduates voice the concern that they will be stuck and/or become defined by their very first role out of uni. Nothing could be further from the truth, and going through a career mapping exercise will really help highlight this.
So how is career planning done?
1. Identity the long term job goal
What is the position you would eventually like to move into? For example, marketing manager in a not-for-profit organisation. This can be either a position many years down the track, or it could be the next position you want to move to (depending on your career stage). If you are thinking about your next career move, career planning can be helpful as well.
2. Work backwards from the end goal to identify gaps
Look at jobs ads for your end job goal and learn as much about the skill, knowledge and experience requirements as you can. Use Linked In to do further research on professionals who work in that particular role. What did they do to get to where they are? What type of previous roles and/or training had they done? Write yourself notes around the commonalities you are noticing when browsing the Linked In profiles of professionals.
3. Conduct a skills/experience/knowledge audit
Assess your own levels of skills, experience and knowledge and how they relate to your end job goal. Identify what aspects you already have and what aspects you need to develop and ‘bridge’.
4. Bridging the gaps
Think about how you can work towards acquiring the relevant skills, experience and knowledge levels which you currently do not possess. This is where the short term stuff comes into play. For example, what course may you need to do? What volunteering can you do to develop specific skills? How can you build your networks and connections to help you move into a specific industry for example? What further research do you need to do to help with this step?
5. Invest in the short-term milestones
Once you have identified the type of things you can be doing in the short term to acquire the relevant skills, knowledge and experience, really invest in this time. Keep in mind how it all fits in with the broader goal and always ‘check in’ with how you are progressing over the months. Try not to be impatient. Sometimes this stage can take months or years.
Also, don’t forget to keep a pulse on the job market so to speak. Keep researching your ideal long-term job goal as this will ensure you are up to date with current requirements. You can then adjust your short-term pursuits accordingly.
If you need some help with your career planning and career development Sydney, Contact Career Focus for professional guidance and advice.