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Effective career planning takes time and it should start well before job changes are imminent so that career moves are through choice and not just a reaction to circumstances.
Even if you are not expecting or wanting to change your current job, you have to recognize that, inevitably, your role will change and you need to anticipate that change and prepare accordingly.
Successful career management depends on a firm foundation of realistic planning based on good decisions. To ensure that your decisions are good decisions you must obtain comprehensive and reliable information about yourself, your organization, and any external influences that can affect you or your industry.Effective career planning takes time and it should start well before job changes are imminent so that career moves are through choice and not just a reaction to circumstances.Click To Tweet
As well as the skills you use in your work it is likely that you also have a range of other skills and abilities (lifeskills). People often have hobbies and interests which may offer further opportunities or even lead to a complete change of direction.
We are generally happier in a job that plays to our strengths and allows us to do the things we like doing and are good at.
What is Your Preferred Work?
- Data e.g. understanding and collating information
- People e.g. communicating, influencing, negotiating, supporting
- Material e.g. working with your hands, building
- Are ideas e.g. being creative, innovative, problem-solving?
The following exercise will help you identify these skills and produce the evidence to show how and when you used these skills successfully.
- Write out what you consider to be your 10 most important achievements. They can be work or life-related but must be meaningful to you.
- Make brief notes on why each was important to you.
- Write how you or others benefited and anything else that springs to mind.
- Think back through the achievement.
- How did you start?
- What problems did you encounter?
- How did you overcome these problems?
- What resources did you use?
For example, did you talk to a lot of other people to get advice and help, or did you work alone? Did you do a lot of research or jump straight in? This exercise should give you a good idea of your style and approach. If you spoke to a lot of people it could suggest you are a “People Person” and likely to be a good communicator. If you jumped in, it may be that you are very independent and/or creative. Once you have honestly explored the route that led to your successful achievement, maybe with a coach, or a good friend, you should then have a list of all your skills.
N. B. If your particular discipline has other technical skills you should also list these.
Choose three achievements that you feel are particularly important. – Describe the background – What was the problem or issue? – What did you achieve? – What difficulties or obstacles did you have to overcome? – What was the outcome? – How did you feel?
This in-depth analysis will allow you to understand more about the environment which motivates you to use your skills effectively and should be used when you are deciding what options to take.
Further questions to help you make sense of all this information:
- Which skills do you keep using?
- Is there a recurring subject matter that you deal with?
- What role do you like to take?
- What are the payoffs for you in the activity?
- Which circumstances keep recurring?
- What sort of people are around you?
- What type of environment do you like operating in?
Review the information gathered in the previous three stages and list the 5-6 main skills. List the skills and fill in your own definition for each skill.
Your achievements may seem to be a collection of unrelated events but they are evidence of when you used skills and were motivated (i.e. when you are good at doing something you enjoy doing.) At the end of this exercise, you should have a comprehensive portfolio of skills.
Write notes on 3 examples where you used this skill in the past. This will form the basis of your personal record-keeping and provide the evidence that can readily be referred to when “selling” your abilities and experience for career growth opportunities in the future.
Most organizations today use behavioral interviewing for selection. The belief is that past performance is the best indicator of future behavior. It is therefore important to prove that you have successfully used particular skills in the past.
Once you have completed these five steps you will be ready to apply for that promotion or new job with confidence. So at the interview when you say you are good at planning, for example, you will be able to demonstrate this with an excellent example of when and how you used planning in the past to achieve a successful result.
So do this preparation – even if it is not your preferred approach – and Get the career you want – and deserve!