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Your Career Strategy

Posted on: 04 Nov 13


A career strategy will provide a framework for your job hunting to be more targeted and efficient, and allow you to track outcomes.

Having a plan for your career is essential. Even if your career is not your highest priority right now, a career strategy will allow you to plan ahead, creating time and space for what is most important to you. A career strategy will provide a framework for your job hunting to be more targeted and efficient, and allow you to track outcomes.

While there is a growing trend to have multiple jobs and even several careers in your lifetime, the best careers are formed when there is an end goal or end state in mind. In order to reach that end goal, you may need to challenge yourself, gain alternative skills or broaden your network - and so be required to take on new roles and responsibilities, gain additional qualifications or completely change industries.

1. Allow yourself to dream

Where do you want to be in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now? What kind of person or lifestyle would you like to be/have? What do you value? What kinds of sacrifices are you willing to make? Not all of your dreams will be career orientated, however to effectively plan your career, decisions need to be made in context with other areas of your life.

You cannot have it all. As much as we’d like to think that this is possible, sometimes sacrifices are required. Acknowledging that not everyone has the capacity to have four kids and go from graduate to CEO in 20 years will inject a healthy dose of realism into your dreams. Think of someone who has your ‘dream job’ – what kind of lifestyle did they lead to get there? Ultimately you are choosing a lifestyle, rather than a career.

2. Start a list

Writing your dreams down on paper allows you to easily see what is, and isn’t important to you. What do you like doing? What would be your 'ideal job'? Why? Keep a notebook handy with you to write down these musings at any time. At this stage your thoughts don’t have to be fully developed and practicalities analysed.

Often the best thoughts come to mind when you're doing a less-than-ideal job. These thoughts will aid in building a framework from which you can plan your career. This list will help you identify what is most important to you and what are just nice-to-haves.

3. Assess where you are

Start thinking about what skills you currently have and what work experience you've gained. Work experience does not just have to be in the form of a full-time job, but volunteer work, self-employment, shadowing or internship opportunities can provide valuable sources of work experience.

Knowing where you're starting on your road to success is helpful in determining what is required of you to reach your end goal, and how long it will take to get there.

4. Determine how you are going to get there

As cliché as it sounds, the journey is important. Reaching your end goal is wonderful, but each step in your career should be enjoyable as well as strategic. Whilst your dream job may be out there, many jobs are going to have tradeoffs, which is why it is essential to know what is important to you. Having more time to spend with the kids as they are growing up may mean less money and longer hours may be required to increase a certain skill set.

5. Have conversations

Reach out through your network and speak to people who are where you want to be. Find out their stories and career paths and how long it took them. Learn to ask good questions and learn how to listen. Quality answers come from quality questions and information is your biggest asset to help you develop a career strategy. Anyone can ask “How did you make your money?” but really we are asking “How do you think about money?” “What is your attitude to money?” Whilst we cannot walk the same pathway of those we deem successful, we can replicate their thought patterns and apply these to our own life.

6. Continually refine

You career strategy will change over time, and new discoveries about the world and yourself will almost always change your priorities, and your end goal. Even the most well thought out strategy doesn’t leave room for serendipity or mistakes.





Mike Wood, editor

Last updated on: 07/08/2014 13:42:46

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