Career Planning: It’s Never Too Early for Your Future to Begin

career planningWhat do you see yourself doing three to five 5 years from now? And how will you get there? If you haven’t thought about the answers to these questions, now is a really good time to start career planning.

You create a plan for almost everything else you do, right? Why not plan out your career?

If you are relying on your boss or company to map this out for you, think again. They don’t have the same level of interest in your development. They are concerned about their own growth and development… or that of their business.

Career Planning Leads to Success

In order to manage your career, you need to establish goals. There’s research that suggests that people who actively and purposely manage their career achieve greater results than those who don’t.

  • People with career goals outperform those who do not have goals or who only have a weak commitment to their goals.
  • Those with goals are more optimistic, and therefore are more resilient.
  • Those with goals are more focused, work harder at job search, are engaged and are more successful at finding new roles.
  • People who engage in career management generate more job interviews and more offers.
  • They obtain higher salary offers and are more realistic about their job expectations.
  • They are more effective in job interviews.

You and I can make thousands of excuses for not investing more in our careers. We can hold on tight to a job we don’t enjoy, we can limp along in a job we know isn’t going to get us anywhere, or… we can take out our compass and map and put on our hiking boots for a great adventure. Will you chose the easy route or the harder one (which is actually more rewarding in the long run)?

Here are eight ways to begin your career planning!

1. Keep One Eye on the Future at All Times!

Not just your employer’s future, but YOURS! What will your next move be? Are you thinking like a free agent? Is career planning foremost on your mind?

2. Actively Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t just for job search. Follow industry news! Join industry-related groups and participate in discussions! And connect with people you meet in person to cement your connection.

3. Know What is Trending Outside Your Industry

Maybe social media isn’t widely used in your industry…yet! But could it be used? Could you be the one to innovate and adapt its usage? Always keep your eyes and ears open for new technology that could increase productivity and marketability for your employer. Then learn how to use technology!

4. Read

Nothing says stagnant more than someone who doesn’t read. Pick up a classic or a new release, it doesn’t matter. Create a reading list of books that will help you grow and learn new ideas.

5. Take On Special Projects

Proactively seek the opportunity to take on new projects (inside or outside of work). You know what your interests are! Don’t over-think this. And don’t make excuses as to why you can’t or that your company won’t let you. Lend a hand doing something you love doing and are good at!

6. Network, Not Just When You Need It

All too often, people who are new to job search scramble to build connections with people and then you know what happens when they get a job? They stop networking as if they won’t need it again. If you turn networking into a regular activity and carve time into your schedule to do it, that’s the best workout you can give yourself! There are no excuses for not networking.

7. Things Change SO Quickly- Be Flexible

What you and I both know is that the world is changing so fast. This demands you stay flexible and remain open to new possibilities!

8. Have An Exit Strategy

Sometimes you have to take a J O B to pay the bills or acquire health insurance or get people off your back. Look for the good in these opportunities. Perhaps it is learning about a new industry or just meeting new people. Set a time-frame for yourself to find a new, more rewarding job. If you stay in a job you don’t want to be in you run the risk of getting fired or worse, losing self-confidence.

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For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.

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Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!

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