A career plan is simply an on-going strategy that helps you set career goals and plan the action required to achieve them.
So, what is the fuss about having a career plan during your college days? You will need one to help you decide on courses, classes, internships, and extracurricular programs to make you a choice job candidate.
You will have more control over your professional life in the long term instead of leaving it to luck and coincidences.
On average, people change jobs every 4.2 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Working at just one company their entire life is not customary at all these days. Things change rapidly across all industries, and it is up to you to follow along.
Here are six steps to help you with your career plan:
Begin by examining your inner self. Your interest, passions, core values, and beliefs will guide you towards a list of career options.
Your options will be clear up as you go through college, gain experience through volunteering, shadowing, and internships.
Refine your list of options. Prioritize according to what would be most straightforward, most gratifying, and rewarding for you. Look at skills you have, challenges you love, work location, co-workers you would meet, salary, and benefits to help you zoom in.
The result will be a few promising career options that may suit you well.
Examine the real world
Consider factors beyond you. Market forces, trends, demand, supply, and competition will have a significant impact on your career plan and path.
Talk to people in the industry, professional institutions, government departments, and career advisors on your potential opportunities.
Make a Choice
Difficult decisions become simple when you identify the pros and cons, evaluate consequences, and see how each alternative aligns with your values.
Choose a path that is just right for you. When you are in college, having a few options will mean having more potential opportunities.
Focus on deriving your own preferred choice that you can target to land jobs.
Career plans take years to accomplish. Setting SMART goals will help you succeed in the process:
Specific: Be precise. If you want to be an accountant, your goal may be securing a job in a top accounting firm in your city.
Measurable: How will you quantify your progress? What criteria can you use to check the progress of success? As in the above example, it may be to complete a bachelor’s degree in Accounting within four years.
Attainable: Make them achievable. A goal with a 50 or more percent chance of success is good. Outline the individual steps to take and see if they are realistically within reach.
Relevant: Your goals must genuinely matter and essential to you. Frame it in the context of your long-term objectives.
Time-bound: Goals need deadlines. Commit yourself to accomplish them within specific time frames.
It is now time to draw an action plan. Create a roadmap for your academic and professional future. Review your goals and develop step-by-step plans to follow and follow through.
Keep your SMART goals and action plan in a quickly accessible place.
External factors will evolve and advance through time. So will you, as you progress in your college and professional life. Remember to revisit your career plan, update, and revise when necessary.
Remain vigilant and mindful of your plan and advance as you grow.