Whether it be our daily activities or big events in life, the need for planning is essential. Since career planning is a life-long process, knowing how to plan allows you to take ownership of your journey and provides you with a sense of direction. In planning your career, you can identify the skills you need to have in order to succeed in various aspects of life, such as your interpersonal skills. Career planning helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and how to improve on them. Additionally, career planning makes you aware of the resources and information needed to find the knowledge required to achieve your future goals. Below are some tips to help you get started with your career planning.
When you have a better understanding of yourself and your capabilities, you will gain insight into your values, which drives your will to achieve the goals you desire and manifest them into reality. Knowing your interests and personality also allows you to understand your preferences for certain types of occupations, work environments and work conditions. Furthermore, knowing yourself brings awareness of the skills and abilities you have and the skills you may need to develop or acquire for specific jobs of interest. Finally, knowing yourself can help clarify what problems you want to solve in the world and the impact you want to make in your community.
The next step in career planning is to conduct research. Research is necessary in career planning as it allows you to add onto the developing knowledge you have acquired, with respect to the desired occupational fields of interests. Ways to conduct research includes creating a pros and cons list that highlights the work environment and the hours and security that might influence a career decision. In that manner, you will then be able to evaluate the listed career options. Secondly, after determining an account of potential jobs, you can conduct informational interviews that allow you to have a one-on-one meeting with employers to discuss their typical job duties, while answering any questions you may have. Thirdly, connecting with alumni, students, supervisors, co-workers, professors or even other professionals to create a well-established network to pave way for better opportunities in your career journey by unlocking hidden job markets or even directing you to information that would be resourceful in your career.
Discover Possibilities & Experience More
Once you have a greater understanding of yourself, the next step is to explore potential career pathways. It is important to remember that career exploration is not always a linear process. It is common to experience as it broadens your knowledge because there are many facets to a particular career, such as nursing. In addition, career pathways are never always clear from the beginning, thus exploring many careers removes the ideology that it is a linear pathway. One would say that navigating through many careers is also motivating because you are beginning to get a grasp of the many options out there, while developing a framework to achieve your goals. One of the fundamental ways of exploring career options is by gaining experience. Gaining experience in a variety of fields related to your skills, interests or degree gives you an introspective view of thinking about the criteria most important to you. To get started as a Brock University student, please visit the CareerZone portal at careerzone.brocku.ca and select the “Gain Experience” tab in the student resource menu section. Within this section, you will find volunteer resources, internship resources (paid/unpaid), quick tips on ExperienceBU and many more. Another tip in exploring careers is to make a chart outlining the pros and cons of each experience gained in relation to the career of interest. This will help compare and contrast ideas visually.
Activating Your Plan
Thirdly, the next step is to act. Even though you might have done all the research you can, you will not be able to successfully journey through your career without first acting. This is important because this trek is a continuous process that requires repeated efforts. The first step in taking action is to review your essential documents. This includes anything you might use for an application, such as a resume, CV, cover letter, autobiographical sketch, etc. To get started as a Brock University student, please visit the CareerZone portal at careerzone.brocku.ca and select the “Cover Letter & Resume” tab in the student resource menu section. Within this section you will be able to find resume guidelines, cover letter resources, workshops and many more. For further assistance, students can book an appointment with a Talent Development Specialist to have an extensive review. Next, taking action also means building your network. This can be done via platforms such as LinkedIn and Ten Thousand coffees or even participating in events and associations.
Learning to Create a SMART Career Plan
Now that you know the fundamentals of career planning, creating SMART goals. This is an important step in helping to manage expectations and provide tangible next steps.
Specific: Is it definitive?
Measurable: Is it meaningful? Can you measure the outcome/growth?
Attainable: Is this within reach?
Realistic: Is it reasonable?
Timely: Is it time sensitive?
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