As a working professional, it is always good to have a long-term vision in mind and keep moving towards the same to reach a bigger career goal. Whether you wish to run your own business in the future or take a top-level management job in a reputed MNC, your end goal can be the exciting effect that drives you ahead on the right path.
However, your career planning approach needs to be much more focussed and is subjective to multiple factors that can lead you to the ultimate goal. Once you decide on your long-term goals, you are likely to consider all relevant perspectives and align your personal wishes with the future career objectives. But, how do we really know if it is the right approach to reach our goals?
For instance, we often see numerous students, either dreaming of becoming a fashion designer or a travel show host, primarily due to the influence of the TV shows. They expect things to happen much faster and easily than they actually do. Thus, to get a more realistic grip on the right path to your career aspirations, it is imperative to outline the steps that could help you shape your career.
Identify your journey’s end point
You are unlikely to start charting a course, unless and until you know the destination. The first and foremost step in your career plan is to create a detailed vision statement comprising different positions or things that you wish to achieve at various points in the coming years.
While charting your career roadmap, you take complete ownership of all pros and cons. There are no bosses, mentors or career counsellors to guide you through this phase. Thus, it is essential that before you begin the journey, realise what success means to you. Take into consideration all aspects of your life – personal and professional. Identify the social stature or professional title that would make you feel truly successful. Have a clear vision as to where you want to be in the next five, ten or twenty years from now and then move forward.
Alternatively, if you are planning to make a career change, contemplate why you want to switch directions before you take an impulsive decision. Chances are either you are trying to achieve something or you are running away from something. If it’s the former scenario, go for it. Otherwise you might just need to change your company and not the present career track.
Emphasise on the skills you need
A wish list can be a great starting point for your career aspirations. This list might include the companies you want to work for or the titles that you want to have in your career. However, it is crucial that you align your wish list with relevant skills and expertise.
While framing your career roadmap, focus on the skills and expertise necessary to pursue your dream career. Though you have no control on the hiring strategy of a specific organisation, yet having an outstanding resume and acquiring the right skill set can position you as one of the top potential candidates.
Several employers believe that actions work better than strategies, titles or designations. Thus, concentrate on enhancing your abilities and capitalise your value propositions, be it in terms of:
- Delivering creative projects and sound recommendations.
- Showcasing great team work and bonding.
- Exhibiting high social intelligence.
- Articulating a strategy or solution for a critical situation.
- Spearheading initiatives and building partnerships.
Identify an appropriate mentor
Having a mentor can take your career to a new level altogether. Networking with people in the relevant field, particularly those holding the positions you desire, can boost your career planning efforts. They can guide you with their own insights and make sure that you follow the right path.
Thus, it is highly critical to identify couple of mentors and probe them about their academic and professional backgrounds. Asking a lot of open-ended questions might reveal a few untold stories as well. This is likely to help you explore the potential routes to your career destination.
Every job or role has its highs and lows. Leverage these informational conversations as an opportunity and ensure that you fully comprehend the rewards and risks associated with a particular role.
Alter the course, if required
In your endeavour to frame the right career roadmap, you might face some deviations or may change your ultimate goal along the way. In any case, there is no hard and fast rule for you to follow the same course once you set sail. If you encounter any roadblocks along the way, be flexible enough to adjust and learn from the experience.
Several people dread the thought of making a wrong career choice. However, there is no need to be afraid even if you take a wrong turn. There are numerous instances when people choose an occupation and don’t find it interesting enough later. In such a scenario, all you need to do is to make a decision and implement it.
People who are likely to adapt to situations and open to learning new skills are the ones who achieve the desired results. That is the key to succeed in your career roadmap.
Having a definite career path will help you in gaining a broader skill base, making logical job transitions and getting better insight about your field of interest. Thus, you are likely to make decisions faster and become more satisfied in terms of your lifestyle, interest and financial goals.
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