Guest blog by Yvonne Akinmodun, Executive Career Coach
Career planning is often seen as the preserve of those entering the job market for the first time and therefore is not always considered a useful tool as we progress in our careers.
However, the career landscape of today has changed significantly from what it used to be. Many of us are seeking to change careers several times in our lifetime. Organisations are having to change and adapt to cope with a global economy which puts pressure on their workforce sometimes resulting in the quest for new skills.
Having a clear career plan with well-defined goals will help you stay ahead in an ever-changing job market. It will also help ensure that you are making the right career decisions, at the right time for you.
So, what does a career plan look like?
A career plan will vary from one person to another depending on sector, current career status and personal career goals.
However, no matter the career direction, most career plans should have the same basic principles. They should have:
- Short term goals
- Long term goals
- Career future proofing aims
What are short term career goals?
Short term goals are usually 1-2 years. A short-term goal might be…
- To get a new job by xx date
- To gain a specific qualification
- To learn a new skill
Some of the things worth considering within short-term career goals might be:
- An established set of career outcomes – It is important to be clear on what a successful outcome would look like once the goal has been achieved.
- Some broad short-term goals that can be adapted if circumstances around you change.
Long term career goals
Long term goals are usually plans that span a period of 3- 5 years. Some of the questions that might be considered as part of long term career planning might include:
- What is coming down the track within your organisation
- Will your current industry grow, contract or cease?
- What do you need to get to where you want to be in 3- 5 years from now, for instance qualifications?
- What are your skills gaps?
- Do you plan on changing careers?
- Will you need to retrain?
When developing long term career goals, it is important to ensure that there is alignment between your professional and personal goals. For instance, someone planning to start a family, retire or relocate in the next 3 years, may want to factor this into their decision around job change.
Being clear on your career direction this far ahead will also help in gaining clarity around career options and choices.
Future proofing your career
We know the world of work is constantly evolving with organisations having to adjust, sometimes at short notice.
The COVID pandemic, has led to many organisations to review their ways of working, with several introducing remote or hybrid working. For some, this change might provide opportunities to develop new skills, such as the ability to make greater use of technology or to review how they can remain visible a largely virtual workplace.
As a working professional, a career plan can help ensure that you are future-proofing your career and in doing so, continue to upskill and remain relevant. Some of the ways that this can be achieved include:
- Becoming a lifelong learner – Being at the forefront of change in your sector or industry is critical to any career choice you make
- Building a network around you of those who might be able to help you develop your career is also important. This might include finding a mentor
- Consideration should also be given to working with a career coach who can help with shaping the direction of your career plan to ensure it meets both your current and future needs.
In summary, the following steps will help you develop a career plan to help boost your career success:
- Establishing a long-term direction using short term goals to stay on track, being prepared to make regular refreshes to your career plan as needed.
- Investing in yourself by becoming a lifelong learner to stay relevant and current as well as working with a mentor.
- Engaging the services of a career coach
Yvonne Akinmodun is a certified Executive & Career Coach and her passion is working with people to help them realise their full potential. Prior to becoming a career coach in 2018, She was a full time HR consultant for 10 years. Prior to that, She worked as a HR Director for a large housing organisation in London.
As a career coach, she has appeared in career podcasts, been interviewed on radio and written articles about leadership and career coaching. She coaches professionals and executives to help them take charge and manage their careers which often includes developing their career confidence on a one to one or group basis.
Yvonne lives in London with her teenage son. When she is not spending time coaching, she teaches as a part time tutor on certified CIPD courses.