Developing a Career Plan

Do you have a career plan or are you navigating your professional path without one? Without a career plan, you are setting yourself up to fail or to be not so successful.

A career plan helps you determine what you want out of your professional life and how to get it. Also, experts agree that developing a one at least once a year is a necessary activity for every professional.

A career plan can help you spot and take advantage of opportunities. For example, every career plan must include staying ready for your next move—a senior executive advised that while you are at your current job, you can engage in job searching.

This doesn’t mean you are leaving your current job almost immediately, it shows you are familiarizing yourself with opportunities out there. Why? No job is secure. So always stay ready.


Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst


Determine where you see yourself headed.

Every good career plan starts with knowing what you want out of your professional life. Is it financial independence or more time you’re your family, actualizing your intellectual potential or assuming a higher-level role, or becoming the go-to expert in your field of endeavour?

Whatever that dream is, put it down. If you know what you want, getting it will be easy.


Take stock of your skills, highlight and stay focused on the ones that you do exceptionally well.

I recently re-read a book: Ben Carson’s “Big Picture”. In it, Ben Carson explained how he turned from a dummy to a renowned and accomplished Neurosurgeon. He did so by evaluating his gifts and skills. “It is an important step when choosing a career,” he says.

In addition, pursuing career paths that help you flesh out your innate gifts and abilities helps you get fulfilment. Wunmi Adelusi a finance specialist and founder of “themillenialemployee”, was once in a job where she was experiencing job dissatisfaction as a result of the under-utilization of her skills. She is thriving at her current job as a Bank Examiner because it’s a role that helps her better express her core gifts and skills.


Develop career options.

Your skills, experiences, educational qualification, values and interests should serve as a guide when developing career options. The world of work is ever competitive. As such, do not limit your career options to only the industries you are familiar with. With your transferable skills, you can stretch your options. limiting yourself to only some kind of career choices might make it difficult for you to access other kinds of opportunities. Transferable skills can help you transition into roles in completely different industries. So keep a keen eye on the transferable skills that you have acquired along the line.


Determine what it will take to access future roles.

Remember the idea of a career plan is to help you stay ready and prepared for opportunities. Finding mentorship (like the womenncarer platform), job shadowing, volunteering, acquiring trainings and certifications are among the many activities you can employ to build skills, competence and experience for a career path you may want to explore. Volunteering has helped me in many ways. Most especially in the area of growing a specific expertise and gaining exposure and experiences.



Keeping your Resume and LinkedIn profile up to date.

a career plan
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Before now, I have always thought that entry and mid-level professionals should be more keen in having their resume on point as opposed to highly experienced professionals whose length of experiences in their respective fields is their golden ticket to the next career level. But a piece of recent advice by Adora Ikuemisi a Career Change expert and Author have widened my perspective in that regard.

No matter the stage you are in your career, your resume should always be well articulated. She says it is even more important for people at senior level roles because as many professionals grow in their job, the opportunities at senior level roles shrink. What will enable you to stand out? Your Resume.

Again, your LinkedIn page is the go-to platform prospective employers will look you up just to see the professional side of you. As such, it is pertinent you engage in activities that showcase the value you bring to the world of work.


The Action Plan

a career plan
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Last Year, Bella Disu the Executive Vice Chairman of Globalcom an indigenous telecommunication company was conferred the French national honor of “Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters). During her acceptance speech, she recalled when she was in her first year in college and envisioned being celebrated for an achievement. She said, “today is the tomorrow I dreamt of”. I bet, she didn’t just get here; she worked her plan! What is the dream for your professional life and how will you work your plan?

No doubt, your career plan is a road map that helps you navigate your professional path successfully. Set up your career plan and make it happen to see your professional dream come to life!



READ ALSO:Career and Personal Growth: 5 Tips to Accelerate Your Progress.