In any walk of life, planning and preparation is always a better approach than simply crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. When it comes to your career this is even more important, as having a clear strategy and plan of action automatically motivates you. Playing things by ear may work for some people, but a lot of the time it simply leads to a lack of purpose.
Here are some tips to working out the best career plan:
Assess your strengths and weaknessesTry and take a good look at your personal skill set and qualifications. Then decide what type of work and company is best for you. Surprisingly enough a lot of people tend to drift into jobs and do not really have a career path that is structured around their individual strengths and weaknesses. As well as looking at the type of job, consider the type of company which best suits you. Are you suited to a large corporate firm, or a smaller, more entrepreneurial organisation? Do you like to work alone or is being part of a tight-knit team more up your street? These are all hugely important questions and can only be answered when you have analysed yourself as an individual.
Know the market
When I am investing in a business, I never go into it blindly and the same should apply to anybody looking to move jobs or industries. You should have a good idea of exactly what is required for you to be a success and what the opportunities for progression are. Look at whether there are additional industry qualifications that can help you move up the ladder and what the general salary is for different levels. You don’t want to end up in a situation where a job or industry is not how you expected it to be.
Take some advice
If there’s one thing I could change from when I started my career, it would be to have a mentor from the very beginning. Having someone who can give you informed and impartial advice is a great help. From a career perspective, it makes sense to speak to someone who knows you in a professional sense. They will have a good idea of your abilities and can give you a vital nudge in the right direction.
Set yourself targets and goals
Throughout my career I have always set myself personal targets. I will sit down at the start of the year and decided where I can improve my performance and look at ways of moving my career and businesses forward. Remember that the most important thing about setting targets is to stick to them. I will always assess whether I have achieved my personal goals and if not, I will look at the reasons why. Personally, I would look to move my career forward every 18 months to two years. This could either be a promotion, new responsibilities or a change of scenery. If your career has not moved forward for a number of years, then you need to ask yourself why that is the case.
A Positive Mental Attitude
Most importantly of all it is vital to maintain a positive attitude at all times. I am not talking about blind optimism, but if you do not have faith in your own abilities then you stand no chance of convincing other people to place their faith in you. As they say, confidence is king.