The one question that we’ve always been asked since young – What do you want to be when you grow up?  The “career” that we think we would like to have would very likely change as we progress through our education path and as we get more exposure to the many different careers that are emerging with a growing economy or an economic disruption.  One of the key moment when we give our first serious thought about career planning would be when we are entering our tertiary education.  However, that shouldn’t be the only time we do our career planning and then leave it behind as we progress on with our careers.  We need to do career planning on a regular basis as we are likely to shift careers a few times in our lifetime especially in the current dynamic economy.

What is career planning? Here are some tips on ensuring that you have a sound career plan that will take you to where you want to be professionally.

1.       Reflect on what you like and dislike, need and want from a career

Our likes and dislikes change over time so it’s always good to take a step back and reflect on what you feel strongly about in your career or job.  If you find that you are no longer enjoying your job tasks as much as you used to be even though the environment has not changed much, perhaps it’s time to consider a new career or job.

2.       Note past accomplishments

While updating your resume, track and record your accomplishments.  It’s not only helpful in building your resume but it also helps to showcase your strengths.  You can also take this time to review if you have been happy so far with your path and if you would have done differently.  This will make the next job search much easier.

3.       Continuous learning for new career opportunities

Look beyond your current job title and identify the skillset that you can apply to other careers.  If you are lacking a certain set of skills for a career goal, then come up with a plan on how you will gain those set of skills that would be required for your next career move.  Career planning is also about finding training opportunities and workshops that will help to move your career further. 

4.       Set career goals

After identifying your strengths and gaps, set a short-term and long-term goal by writing them down.  This will help you to stay focus on the path that you have set out for your next career move.  Do make an adjustment to these goals as your career plans progress and always develop new goals once you have accomplished the previous goals.

5.       Leverage and learn from others

It’s always good to attend job-related events or conferences and build relationships with leaders and peers within and outside of your company or industry.  The more you network the more you will learn from those who are successful.