Too many people are lost in space as far as their career direction is concerned. They have no idea about who they are, and the attributes and skills they can bring their next employer.
To find your way, take stock and review your career. Get clear about where you want to be. Here are some career planning tips that will help you unravel the complexity of your future.
Firstly, identify your transferrable skills. Each and every one of us has a unique skill set that can traverse many business sectors. Society may tell us that we’re pigeonholed in just one sector or career, but this is not true. The more transferrable skills you have, the easier it will be to transition between industry and corporate sectors.
Next, uncover your comfort zone. We all have likes and dislikes, and the goal is to maximize our exposure to the things we like, and eliminate the ones we don’t. What excites you? What motivates you? What product or service would you like to work with? What is the culture that you desire in a work environment? What are you committed to? What engages you? Note all of these things in your career plan.
Now, conduct a hard skills evaluation and identify the gaps. Design a concrete strategy for how you will fill those gaps. A good place to start is by browsing through the vast availability of online community college and university courses, including self-directed courses you can take for free. Choose a course, apply, work hard, and graduate.
As you’re building your career plan, find a coach or mentor. This will be somebody who can be a listener, a champion, and who brings realistic knowledge, guidance and support as you embark on a new journey.
Set yourself up with a one-year, two-year, five-year and ten-year career plan. However, understand that in today’s corporate landscape of constant restructurings, even in good economic times your path may sometimes be re-routed.
Always keep your career documentation up to date. This is your marketing and sales collateral. Is your resume up to date? Do you have a bio? Do you have a suite of cover letters? If not, consider having these documents professionally prepared to make you stand above the competition.
Networking must be a major element of your career plan. Simply nothing can replace networking in person. Set your direction and network furiously within that sector. You may get tired of networking, but keep it up and you will gain traction. Network, network, network.
Support this in-person networking with a comprehensive social media strategy on all the top active websites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+), backed up by a presence on static sites such as about.me, flavors.me and zoominfo.com. These all work together to raise your Google profile.
We’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg as far as your career direction and planning is concerned, but this is a very good place to start and launches you miles ahead of many of your competitors.