It’s about time you grew up. School is a thing of the past. Graduation doesn’t just mean stepping out of academia – it also means stepping into something greater. Are you ready to hustle and disrupt the professional world? Make an impact? Before you even get there, you need to get some things ironed out. This includes figuring out your roadmap and career planning.
It won’t be easy, but unfortunately, it’s something all of us can’t run from. You’re going to spend more than half your time at work when the time comes; so it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll be thriving or hating every moment of it. If you don’t have a game plan, that’s half the battle lost. Here’s how you can get started.
Four steps to effective career planning
You’d think you know yourself by now. It’s time to exercise that knowledge and put it down in writing, so you can get an idea of what career might suit you. That’s right – you get to do those personality tests you’re so crazy about!
That’s not all, of course. Looking at yourself in the mirror for an hour or two doesn’t count, either. When you review what you know about yourself, be sure to include:
- Hobbies and interests. Who are you outside of work? Or are you just an android that charges itself at home over the weekend? 😉
- Personal/ethical values. 👍🏼 What are your beliefs? What are some values you live by that you can’t do without? What guides your actions and motivations may determine who you work for.
- Personality type. 🙋 Are you a social butterfly or would you rather be in a cocoon? How do you handle conflict? You need to figure it out, along with your strengths and weaknesses.
- Talents. 🏅 Things that you’re particularly good at, or are a natural with, that might not necessarily bethings related to your career. What skills have you picked up over the years of levelling up?
- Ideal work environment. 🏙 Everyone thrives in a certain type of environment. Figure yours out – or risk five days of hell in a noisy workplace every week. Your call!
Dig deep and do your homework for career planning
Now that you’ve figured yourself out and studied that reflection long enough, it’s time to survey the land and assess some potential career paths.
There are plenty of ways to do this:
- Internet research. 💻 This one shouldn’t be new to you, considering how often we’re glued to our screens. Google is your best friend – use it to find out more about potential companies, job openings, and even juicy employee reviews.
- Make full use of career fairs. 📝 Whether it’s through your university’s or elsewhere, career fairs are the place you can meet with representatives from agencies and companies you’re interested in. Ask them difficult questions. Probe for more insight. You’ll want to know as much as possible.
- Plug into your personal network. 🔌 If all else fails, look to your relatives or professional contacts and ask away. Don’t be shy. First-hand information will help to shape your understanding.
- Shadow someone at work. 👤 If possible, find an opportunity to shadow someone in a position you’re interested in. No, we’re not asking you to stalk a professional in the day time. You’re basically observing someone in their element and learning about their job scope. This is a great way to gain some insight into a job you might want. Why not?
- Look up job salaries and other market information. 📊 It’s good to know about the kind of compensation you’ll be getting, especially salaries for fresh grads. If you want to fill your bank account, don’t go in blind.
Decide, choose, and consolidate.
After all that legwork, you can start drawing up possible roadmaps. Match potential careers to your profile and needs and narrow the list down if needed. It’s like Singapore Idol, except you’re not picking the best singers. Make your decision, lock in your votes, and consolidate the careers that are gonna work the best for you. The last thing you want is to end up in a job that makes you miserable. Career planning is serious business.
This is the stage where you put all that research and career planning into action. Make a structured plan for your goals, both long-term and short-term. If it looks way too broad, break your journey down into bite-sized goals and little milestones. Don’t be lazy and don’t slack off – job searches aren’t easy, and you might end up with a little uncertainty every now and then, and that’s okay!
Start polishing your resume, work on your cover letters (and we don’t mean copy-pasting the same thing for every employer) and be prepared for future job interviews once your applications are away. After that, it’s all about resilience and taking it day by day till the day you’re hired.
So, you’ve worked out the kinks and laid out a path for yourself. Good job – you now know how to plan your career!
But you should know that career planning will never end. As you grow and evolve as a professional, your career will be doing the same. Anticipate and seize your next opportunities. Plan your career for tomorrow, for next year, and even for the next decade. You need to be prepared for the next leap you take – and make sure it’s worth it. If not, what are you investing your time and resources for?
If you’ve figured out where your starting point is, awesome! Hop on over and find your next job opportunity with Glints today.