A career very often defines who we are and what we do. Some of us drive at it in an ad-hoc way and attempt to create the opportunities as we move along; while others amongst us attempt to cultivate a long term vision for our careers … and what many of us call a career plan. A career plan should list the short-term and long-term career goals and the actions you need to take to achieve them. Career plans are very useful in helping you make decisions about what opportunities to seek, how to approach these through experiences or studies and identify the activities, research, and apprentices that will make your career dream a career reality.
So how should you guide you career? Any self-respecting professional would come up with some level of a career plan using some of the following steps:
- Identify your career options
- Prioritise them based on interests and objectives
- Consider factors beyond personal preferences such as demand, risk, difficulty, etc
- Set your SMART goals to drive some level of an action plan
- Create your action plan and owners of the action. When you can’t take ownership to deliver the action, look for alternatives
- Deliver on the action plan and modify as need be
Six steps to develop a career plan and while all practical, where is the vision and the future-plan in this? That got us thinking about a career plan based on career levels that are required in order to succeed.
We would encourage you to look at 5-Levels of a Career Ladder. Break it down to understand where you are at and how to jump the levels:
- Level 1: – Build your Knowledge: – Awareness is an essential key to any career and so is knowledge. Build you knowledge and build awareness around it. Sit with it, talk to people about, research it and be patient with it. Knowledge is one of the key factors to developing your career and sometimes this is done through exposure rather than through practice.
- Level 2: – Gain Exposure: – One difference between mediocre and successful professionals is responsibility. Even though you know the concept, you may not apply it every day. Whenever something bad happens, you need to assume it. Start assuming responsibility for all of your actions and never blame anyone for your mistakes. That’s the worst thing someone can do. Do not take things personally, and be calm by building the exposure thorough experience and taking on those challenges.
- Level 3: – Build your Credentials: – Standards influence the way we think, believe, and behave. Look to adopt those standards or credentials in a way that makes you purposeful and respected Look to improve on these through the certification, education or alignment routes
- Level 4: – Become the Subject Expert: – Big companies are spending hundreds of millions in order to establish themselves as the “big dogs” in the marketplace. It is an old business strategy used by almost every professional company. Your branding is your image in the marketplace. Become a brand leader through your expertise. Show what you know by creating a professional service profile.
- Level 5: – Stand up on your own Two Legs: – Create those opportunities and connections for yourself and when meeting new people, it is a chance to stand up and show you as a business. It is time to make the money from your services, your knowledge, your network and create those lasting profitable relationships.
It is a 5 Level Career Ladder that can take decades to evolve or years to evolve. No matter where we sit or what we do, it is impossible to successful land at level 5 (if that is your desire) without having gone through the previous four level. Patience is a virtue and career developing certainly takes patience but also good planning.