Career planning involves planning your career path ahead and determining in advance the career development things you need to do to get to your desired career destination.
The first step to effective career planning is to ask yourself what you want to be in life. What career do you want to pursue?
Want to be a medical doctor, pharmacist, engineer, or lawyer?
Career development along these professional disciplines is often straightforward. For example if your intended career path is to become a lawyer, you know you have to have a bachelors degree in law and thereafter attend law school.
However, career planning and career development go way beyond what you studied in school or the discipline where you majored during your university years. Career planning is way bigger than that.
Career development when properly planned involves taking your destiny in your own hands, deciding what makes you happy, and then structuring all your training and career efforts in the direction of your chosen career path.
For example, suppose you have a bachelors degree in economics and now have a job. Ask yourself, “Why did I study economics?”
Generally, there are one of three reasons why people study a particular discipline in college or university.
1. They may be very passionate about the course or
2. They may have studied the course because that is what mom and dad wanted or
3. They may have studied the course because they could not get admission to study their preferred course
The good news is… you can shape or re-shape your career path irrespective of the reasons that led you to your current profession.
For example, some category 1 people… people who were passionate about their profession as teenagers… may lose their passion for the profession as they grow older and face the reality of day-to-day life. This loss of passion may also result from the pressures from family demands and the peculiar
challenges associated with the profession in practice.
Category 2 professionals, mentioned above, are likely to go after their heart’s first love when they are no longer under the control of mom and dad.
Category 3 professionals are also likely to go after their first love after their first degree.
For example, I know people who are passionate about accountng. However, they could not make the score for the accounting department during their pre-university days. Some of them eventually went for courses like economics, sociology, statistics, and similar social science courses.
What happened after leaving school?
A good number of them went back to register with the professinal accounting body and now have professional certificate in accounting. In simple words… they are now chartered accountants.
The course you studied in the teenage years in school need not hold you captive for the rest of your life if you have lost passion for it.
I recommend you get involved with a profession you love. If you missed your way when you were young, you can always retrace your professional steps no matter where you are currently or how old you are.
Now with that background, let’s get back to the real question.
What career planning strategy can you use to plan your career path? What practical career development strategy can you put to use right now?
Do the following to move your career in the direction you want.
1. Determine where you are right now in your career
2. Determine and document where you want to be
3. Draw an outline of the skills you need to get there
4. Kick-start the process of acquiring skills you need that you don’t already have
5. Discuss your career plan with your wife and then your boss
6. Ask to be given assignments that move you more and more in the direction of your career
7. Get involved in community work (where possible) that offers you an opportunity to function in the position you expect to be
8. Let nothing stop you from making that noble career a reality