5 Fast Tips... to Start A Career Plan

Chat with a friend, mentor or
someone in your network
about your goals
Last blog I talked about the importance of having a career plan but the trick for many people is knowing where to start.

The advice from most people (including me) is to begin by writing down your goals and what you want to achieve. But sometimes it isn't that easy. And there are a lot of reasons why this may be the case. You might be have been quite content in your role and get thrust into a career crisis by being made redundant or laid-off. You may be considering returning to work after maternity leave or a career break. Or you may just not be sure what you want to do next.

All of which can make it quite difficult to know what your goals are and start your career plan.

Here's a few tips that might help to get you started:

1. Write a list of everything you are good at - include everything you can think of like coming up with ideas, working in groups, writing spreadsheets. Anything you know you are good at - and don't be modest!

2. Then cross off anything you don't like to do.

There's always going to be some mundane or other parts of a job that may not be your favourite. But these are your goals that you are writing - so they may as well reflect what you actually like to do!

3. Is there anything you have ever really wanted to do but haven't? Maybe you don't think you could possibly get the skills or qualifications but it is a great big aspiration that you would love to achieve, if only...

I read a great story in an article in the Harvard Business Review a couple of years back about a chap who was an accountant or some kind of numbers man (the detail gets lost in the memory) anyway he always wanted to work in the music industry. He was absolutely passionate about music. But at 40 years of age he had resigned himself that he was not going to become a rock star, music producer or song writer. But what he did do was apply what he was good at (numbers) and went to work as an accountant (or whatever it was) in the music industry. He was thrilled. He was working at what he was good at and did like, but in an environment that he was inspired and excited about.

Seems kind of logical but sometimes the obvious answers aren't so obvious. Or we don 't put all the information together - which is why I suggest that you write all this stuff down!

4. Reflect on which job you have had in the past that you loved the most. It doesn't need to be a job it might also be a volunteer position or a role in a club or association. Regardless, what was it about it that made it so good? Was it the manager? The people? They type of work? The level of input you had? The work you were producing? There are many things that make a job great. What was it for you?

5. Chat with your trusted career advisers and ask them questions to understand how others see you. Talk to your mentor, people in your network, a previous manager or even a good friend. Ask them what they think you are good at or even what career paths they see as possible for you. You don't have to follow their advice but it can be a good way of getting another perspective to add this to your thinking.

You might not find all your answers but these tips can be a good starting point to setting your goals so you move forward with your career plan.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:

                 Alice came to the fork in the road.
                 "Which road do I take?" she asked
                 "Where so you want to go?" responded the Cheshire Cat.
                 "I don't know" Alice answered.
                 "Then," said the cat, "it really doesn't matter."

The cat was right - you need to have some idea of where you want to go.

That's all for now :)


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