Career planning may seem very stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Planning your career can be very simple if you remember to self-reflect, stay organized and prioritize your goals. If you remember to stay on top of your plan and not let it slip away, you’ll be able to stay on track to getting your dream career! Below is our guide to effectively planning your career, presented in 3 easy steps.
Step 1: Self-Reflection
Understanding what kind of career you want is the most crucial of all the steps. In order to plan your career path effectively, you must have a good sense of what you want. This could include what kind of role or workplace you want and do you want work that is always changing or routine work. In addition, it’s important to consider what kind of work would keep your interest high.
Once you’ve established what kind of career you want, you can do some self-assessment to determine what career suits your needs and wants. One way to do this is through personality tests. for example, the 16 personalities quiz helps you discover your personality and informs of you some careers that suit you based on your traits. Another method would be to discuss some careers with your career advisor at your university. You could inform them of your skills, passions, and interests and they could help you to choose a few potential careers. A final option could be to just casually discuss your career options with your friends or family! these are the people who know you best, after all, so they should have some ideas as to what kind of career would work best for you.
Step 2: Consider Outside Factors
Most students are extremely scared of getting out of university, and then not being able to find a job for a long time. One of the best ways to combat this is to make sure you’re entering a growing or in-demand field. Fields with high-demand are much easier to get into, and thus you can worry a bit less about your future job. However, if your career options aren’t as in-demand as other jobs, you need to assess if you are comfortable with that risk. you will also likely need to work a little harder in order to make sure you can enter that field. This could mean an extra co-op term or volunteering in a position related to your future career.
Other things to consider when finalizing your career choice are the qualifications necessary for the field and the cost of training. Most post-secondary education can be quite expensive, especially if you aren’t a domestic student. So, it’s important to determine how much education and training you’ll need, as well as it’s cost. This way you can create a budget for getting to your career, and if it’s too much school and money you can look at other options.
Step 3: Set Your Goals and Prioritize Them
Figuring out how exactly to get to your dream career can be hard. This is why you should set SMART goals all along the way to ensure you are remaining on track. The acronym SMART stands for smart, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound. All of these are important factors when created your goals. After creating these goals, you should write them down and share them with someone. This way so you’ll remember them and remain accountable for completing them. Some SMART goals could be aiming to have completed 2 co-op work terms by the 3rd year of your undergrad. Another SMART goal that is more career-focused could be to find an entry level job in your field at least 6 months after graduating.
Once you have these goals set out, it’s really important to prioritize them and keep working at them. This could mean writing down small steps of each goal in an agenda. This way you complete a part of your goal each day/week. Another option could be an accountability buddy, who keeps track of your goal progress while you keep track of theirs!
Career planning as scary as it may seem can be made simple. If you can figure out what you want to do, you’ve already jumped over the biggest hurdle. From there it’s all about assessing your options and ensuring you can get there. Here is where the goals come into play, so make sure you create them and work towards them always! Remember once you get into the career you like, the goals and planning shouldn’t stop there! Keep planning to grow your career even further and become the best version of yourself that you can be!