How to Create a Career Plan – Kick Start Your Career!

‘When I grow -up I want to be…’

Yes, we all said those famous words whilst we were growing up. If only just saying it made it so, hey?

Unfortunately, as we get a little older and (hopefully) a little wiser, we realise there is a lot more involved in getting us to that job than a dream and a smile.

So, rather than just sitting back and hoping that job just drops onto you lap, it makes sense to work out how you are going to make your career aspirations a reality. The best way to do this is by creating a career plan.

Regardless of whether you are fresh out of university looking to lay the path of your first career or a seasoned professional who is looking to start a fresh, a well- structured and honest career plan can give you the focus needed to achieve your goals.

You will notice above I used the word honest, this is the most important part in the creation of a career plan, if you are not honest with yourself then your plan will be nothing more than a disappointment.

Be realistic about what you hope to achieve and whether the goals are attainable.

With honesty at the forefront of your mind its time to take the first step in creating your career plan.

  • Self -analysis

This is predominantly a task to get to know yourself a bit better. Ask yourself clear questions such as; What kind of career is it that you actually want? What are your strengths and weaknesses and how do you think you could utilise these skills in a new role? What are your passions? Could you combine your passions with your new chosen career path? What is your current home life situation? could this be positively or negatively impacted by your new career choices. What is your current lifestyle? would you be willing to make changes to this for your desired career. Questions such as these need to be carefully thought out and answered before embarking on a new career to avoid trying to implement impossible targets.

  • Outline your skills

Once you have spent some time reflecting on what it is you want on a personal level, it’s now time to list your skills and experience. Your current level of experience and skills are vitally important to the new career path you want to take. Are your skills and experience transferable to the new role or will you need to take extra training? Would you need to take time out for volunteer work to gain relevant experience? All this needs to be implemented into your plan to help you decide what is achievable.

  • Setting those goals

Now its time to set goals, these need to be relevant, attainable and timely. Writing down ‘Be a department manager’ isn’t going to get you anywhere! Make short term and long-term goals e.g. register on management course in the next 3 months, apply for supervisor promotion 2-3 years, become department manager 5 years. Other smaller, short term goas can be added along the way. Why not give yourself some kind of incentive for reaching each of your goals?

Sharing your goals with others can help you to remain focused and their support can be invaluable along the way.

  • Making that Plan!

You now have all the information you now need to put together your plan! This action plan can be a large or small as you like, but by keeping your goals focused and concise you are more likely to achieve them. Make sure each task in your plan has a clear and obtainable time scale that’s workable around your current work life and home schedule.

Above all else…make sure you are ready!

Remember, having a plan is no good at all if you are not willing to put the time and effort in to sticking to it!

Try to remember that things can change and view your career plan as living document, change is ok and working through unexpected hurdles can be rewarding too.

Keep working towards your regular short- term goals, achieving these will give you the confidence and motivation to reach that career you’ve been striving for.

If you are still finding writing your career plan difficult, try seeking advice from a recruitment specialist. They can help you to create a focused plan. They have a wealth of career knowledge and are more than happy to help you in your journey.

Good luck in your career.

Keeli MacMillan