A solid career plan includes both the long-term and short-term objectives that you want to achieve as part of your working life. It also incorporates the steps you must follow and the important decisions that will help you to achieve your desired goals.
The average person will change their career between five and seven times during their working life. You may have to review your career goals every year and revise your objectives as your life changes and your passions shift over time. So, what is career planning? And how can it help you grow as an executive or business leader?
Planning your career: step by step
The success of your organisation depends on your career management plan. Think of yourself as a business that has multiple products and services to be advertised and sold to the target audience. That’s how you should market yourself to achieve your career goals.
Making an informed decision about your career can be overwhelming. There are so many potential career paths out there, as well as the expectations of others that can be a heavy influence. In this context, self-evaluation can help you to critically assess your personality, values, and interests in order to set career goals.
This type of self-evaluation can be done alone or with the help of a coach. Either way, it is an essential part of the process to choose a path aligned with your values: a career path that truly resonates with you rather than what others tell you that you “should” do.
You can use self-evaluation tools to assess your personality and pick a field that is in line with your individual values. This includes personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs test, that will assess your personality, desires, and use these to determine the best career direction for you.
Explore different options
Career planning allows you to imagine a different future and reach further than the familiar. After you’ve gone through the process of self-evaluation, you may discover options that you didn’t know existed. This makes it easier for you to explore different career paths and experiment with multiple options to see what fits you best.
Explore these options further through researching, and interacting with people who are already pursuing these kinds of careers. You can explore these possibilities through volunteering, shadowing, internships, and connecting with mentors. The more you explore, the sooner you will be able to find the ideal career for you. Being clear about your goals is essential, but it is equally important to be open to new ideas and options.
Set your goals
Goal setting is an important part of developing a successful career. Your ideal career path depends on your own unique goals. This isn’t only about long-term objectives, but short-term goals are also important. You need to be clear on where you see yourself in the next five years, but it’s equally important to have short-term objectives that will help you get there. To be effective, your goals should be realistic, achievable, time-bound, and relevant to your objectives.
Career planning is also about examining and adjusting your career goals on a regular basis. You should set new objectives as soon as you have achieved your previous goals. You may also change your mind and realise that you would like to take a new direction. Reviewing your goals on a regular basis will allow you to make sure they evolve alongside the other aspects of your life.
Once you have explored all the options available to you, there is one important step left: taking the necessary action to make it happen. Start with building your resume, as it will be the first thing your future employer will consider. Online courses, internships, or other study can help you to gain the skills, experience, and qualifications you need to meet your career goals.
Networking is also critically important: attend seminars, classes, and networking events that fit with your dream career. These kinds of connections can be invaluable to advancing your career objectives. Remember that getting your desired career is not as simple as applying for a job at your dream company and getting an approval letter in two to three days — industry connections can make all the difference.
Career coaches are an integral part of EDHEC’s online programmes — we offer both group and individual coaching, with a big focus on understanding yourself. Many students change career plans during the programme, as they discover new interests, and gain a better understanding of themselves, their desires, and their potential. This, coupled with the wide network of both local and international contacts that students gain, through both the school and its alumni, puts students in a strong position to plan their career.
Ready to plan your dream career?
Contrary to what some people believe, career planning isn’t just for new graduates who are trying to land their first job. It is equally important for employees, executives, and even business leaders that want to grow and improve as professionals.
Identify your short-term and long-term career goals, plan your training, come up with a strong job search strategy, and take the necessary actions to build your career.
A quality higher education programme like those we have at EDHEC will help you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of what is career planning, and plan your next career steps.
You can learn more about our online programmes here.