All of us have plans for our future. Visions of how we would like to spend our work-life and then move on to retirement plans. Interestingly, 78% of employees said they would remain longer with their employer if they saw a career path within the current organization (Source: Mercer). As with most plans, the charting of the course is the key step. That is where the Career development plan comes in. Setting measurable goals and charting a course to achieve them is the best way to motivate yourself to reach for your dreams and achieve them.
1. Taking the first step
A career development plan can be created at any point in your career. This is a useful exercise for everyone as it will help you evaluate your current skills and your unique strengths that would make you an asset in any organization. What should you ask yourself?
- What sort of projects/activities have you dealt with till now?
- Did you like the activities you were engaged in?
- What do you really want to do with your life?
- Are there any specific skills you can use but have not had a chance to use them till now?
- Are you comfortable leading a team or following your own plan?
- What aspect of your current job do you like and keeps you going?
2. Where I want to be
With the groundwork laid down, it is now time to move ahead to the next step. You will need to sit down and understand where you are planning to be in the next 5 or 10 years.
- Are you planning to stay with the same role/career path?
- Would you be thinking of growing in the current organization?
- Do you see yourself in a managerial or senior position in the chosen industry?
- Do you have any other interests/goals that you are working towards and this is just a stopgap?
- Would you be interested in setting up your own company sometime in the future?
While all these questions might seem theoretical, taking the time to jot down your answers can help you get a better understanding of where you see yourself going in the future. This will make it easier for you to move on to the next stage.
3. The great divide
The next stage is easy now that you have the groundwork completed. Now you need to conduct research on how you can reach your goal.
One easy way to do so is to check job listings for your target career goal. Are there any specific certifications/experience needed to get there?
Have discussions with your colleagues and superiors on any feedback/recommendations they can share with you on how you can work towards those goals.
This will give you a great starting point to craft your journey over the next 5 or 10 years as per the time you have outlined in the first step to reach your goals.
4. Taking it one step at a time
Now you need to act on these action items you have collected. Start by preparing a timeline on achieving those skills/experiences you collected in the previous step. It is important at this stage to hold yourself accountable. Prepare a timeline of achievable SMART goals (SMART stands for Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). This will help you stick to your goals and motivate you to get your target.
5. Taking stock
As with most plans, the critical part is the routine evaluation and checklist that shows you if you are on track. It is also possible that with time, you might re-evaluate your goals and change priorities. Take the time to update your plan and consider any changes you will need to make to your action- items list to reach your new goals.
Such planning is a must for those people who are just starting out on their careers as well as people who are experienced and feel ‘stuck’ in their present roles. In those times when the motivation to keep going is hard to find, an exercise such as this will not only re-energize you but will also help you give your best to yourself and stay committed to your abilities. Reach out to our qualified recruitment specialists who can help you find the right profile to help you grow.