Having a job is good but having a clear career path is better. A career path helps you navigate all the levels of your career easily and ensures you are successful at your work life. Having a career path gives you an edge in your industry because it helps you know exactly where you are going.
Here are a few and very easy steps to getting a plan:
Be Self-aware of your Skills & Experiences
Self-awareness is very important when creating a career path, it helps you take stock of your best skills and also your talent. As someone who is creating a career path, doing a Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis of your skills and experiences is a good self- awareness method to carry out. You can also ask close friends, colleagues and family members to carry out a SWOT analysis of your skills as well. I remember carrying out a SWOT as a requirement for a Management module during my Master’s degree at Kingston University, London and this analysis helped me greatly in knowing what role I wanted to occupy in my industry.
Create a Career Plan
A career plan is a step by step guide that helps you get to the peak of your career. Just like a business plan which shows tell your investors where your business is headed and how you intend to get there within a period of time, a career plan is majorly for your own professional development and also mental sanity in a very fast and changing environment. A good example is creating a plan to become a Project Manager, regardless of what you studied in university. A plan would include getting a BSc degree, working in a project related environment (either in Tech, Hospitality, Construction etc), acquiring several hours and years of project management related experience, sitting for a Project Management Certification (either PMP, Prince 2, Agile, or CompTIA), working as an Intern Project Manager or Volunteer your experience and skills at an NGO to gain more skills, build your network and also get recommendations and then start applying for Project Management roles that suit your skill set.
Get a Mentor (How to)
A mentor is someone who has walked the path you want to walk in your career, many a times people get a bit reluctant to reach out to others for mentorship probably because they are shy or they fear rejection. If you happen to be someone like that, what you can do is to get books which have been written by your mentor and read and study them. You see, mentors usually write books about their life, work and family and you would definitely be learning a thing or thing by reading their books. Perhaps, when you eventually summon courage to approach them in person, telling them you read one or two of their books is always a great conversation starter and always helps them see how serious you are about becoming a mentee and also having a great career.
Re-evaluate your Career Plan
Now that you have evaluated your skills, created a plan and also gotten a mentor, you would need to re-evaluate your career plan. The purpose of doing this is to ensure you are on track in your career. Many a time’s employers allocate new responsibilities to us, based on our good work ethic and level of achievements. If you are someone working to become a Project Manager then you really have no business taking on additional responsibilities as a Sales Rep or a Support Staff, it is must better for your career to keep a head on view of your goals and constantly work towards getting skills in your desired role. Such skills you would need to acquire include supervising staff, managing several projects at once, communication skills, report writing skills etc.
If you have enjoyed reading this article and learnt a thing or two from it and would like to learn how to create a career path and plan, then reach out to me in the comments section below. If you are also on a career journey and you feel stuck or unsure of your latest career decisions also do reach out to me.