Career Planning: What Should Be in Your Plan for Success

A common saying goes like this; “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is very true in career planning where working consumers need to be alert to the changing work trends to grab the opportunities for career advancement. A good career plan should be available to guide the working consumer to greater heights of glory in the marketplace whether it is a formulated career plan in your head or on paper.

A career plan may not necessarily have a particular format or style but relevant or crucial components need to be included for a greater career success. There are an extensive amount of career plan templates on the Internet for consumers to work out their own.

Action plan on career development

It would be very sad if a working consumer stays in the same position throughout his/her career lifespan. Those without ambition to move ahead in their careers are destined to be miserable and under-developed in many aspects; emotional, physical, and skills. It is necessary for a normal individual to aspire greater heights in life from personality to career.

The market today offers many types of action plans to address personal and career developments. This is a suggested tool that is designed to assist individuals in identifying the various phases of growth and development in their career and character. Many forward looking companies are employing this tool on their employees to develop their potential for in-house promotions that are in line with the company’s succession plan. A clear roadmap allows the employee and supervisor to identify relevant development programs and skills to enhance the employee’s capabilities and future contributions to the company’s expansion plans.

Components of an action plan

Any employee that wishes to progress in his/her career path needs to incorporate certain components in their career development action plan. These components are essential in identifying the current work conditions of the employee while guiding the employee to embrace new skills and knowledge to facilitate a career growth.

1. Self Assessment and career development needs

The first component in a career plan is a summary of information on the candidate as part of the self assessment scheme. It is important to identify the candidate’s current strengths and weaknesses with a listing of preferences, interests and values to form an appropriate career development path. This summary forms the basis of evaluation and planning of relevant development activities to benefit the candidate.

2. Mentor-mentee scheme

A career planning exercise is more effective when there is a mentor who can serve as a guide and checkpoint on the development of the mentee. This joint effort is crucial to the success of the career development of the candidate as feedback on strengths and weaknesses serve to improve the employee’s performance. Programs and activities can be tweaked or changed depending on the employee’s development towards a targeted goal.

3. Setting career goals

There must be relevant short-term, medium-term and long-term career goals that are measurable to gauge the employee’s progress in his/her career development. Short-term goals could be achieved and measurable within a year; medium-term goals are about 2-5 years and long-term goals would be over 5 years. Many companies employ the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) approach to measure employee’s performance annually.

4. Career roadmap

The set career goals serve as a career roadmap on how the employee should develop certain skills and competencies to reach the targeted goals. There may be on-the-job trainings with relevant leadership projects and trainings to develop or build the necessary skills and abilities as well as knowledge required for success. There would be the clear identification of actions for the employee to complete in order to acquire the necessary skills and capabilities.

5. Milestones and timelines

It is necessary to create relevant milestones and timelines to help the employee measure the degree of success in achieving the career targets. Scheduled check-in meetings help to identify the status of the employee on the progress of the career plan. Regular reports, advice and feedback from supervisors are helpful to chart the career development progression.

Last but not least, the employee would need to be determined and disciplined in working out the career plan charted to climb up the ladder of success in the marketplace. New goals may be added or components in the career plan may be changed depending on the changes in the individual’s life. There may be barriers to overcome along the way which serve to build up the individual for greater things in life.

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