Finalising your career is an extremely crucial but an overwhelming task. This is a step that is often skipped by most of the people in their professional lives. Do you ever stop to question whether or not you’re on the right career path? About 57% of Indians have changed careers. Planning your career means that you are not leaving things to chance but taking control of your career journey. Finding your perfect career won’t happen overnight, and it may take time to really find the right trajectory for you. You might even be thinking, “How do I even know what the right career is?”
If you’re feeling stuck, unsure, or confused, don’t worry. Here are five steps you can take toward finalising your career that will truly satisfy you.
1 Self Analysis
The first step to successfully plan your career is to understand your own interests, strengths, weaknesses and goals. Begin by asking yourself the following questions –
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What motivates me?
- What am I good at? What are the things I am bad at?
- What kind of lifestyle do I want in the future?
- What are my personal goals?
- What are my biggest achievements and failures?
- What qualifications and experience do I have?
- What do I want to be known for?
Use Pen & Paper to answer the questions pointwise, which helps you in deeper understanding.
You can do self analysis with the help of career assessments like Personality Test - This test gives you a comprehensive summary of your personality. It is also used by recruiters and counselors across the world.
Spend some time on self-introspection and write down your
1. Long-term and career goals
2. Short-term career goals.
It sets the foundation for the next steps in Finalising your Career
2 Reading About Career Path You are Interested In
Once You analysis yourself and discover your own interests and strengths, learn about them by reading. Make a list of job roles that you find interesting and would like to pursue. Once the list is ready for each of the job roles, ask yourself the following questions –
- Does this match my interest?
- Will this help me achieve my goals?
- What type of industry appeals to me the most?
- What type of job roles would suit me?
- Are my qualifications and abilities aligned with these jobs?
Use Pen & Paper to answer the questions point wise which helps you in deeper understanding. Go through the market trends and read company reviews to get details about salary, work culture, growth opportunities, etc.
Talk to professionals working in different fields to get an overview. Conduct informational interviews(allowing you to learn more about a particular job from someone who is already working in the industry) or try job shadowing a professional(following the worker already in the role. It could be for an hour or even for a week). Reach out to professionals within your network for these.
Reading about your Interested path which helps you in making an informed decision about your career. Once you answer these questions, you have your list ready and it is time to move on to the next step.
3 Identify the Gap & Fill the Gap
For all the desirable job roles that you have added to your list, write down the skills, experience, and resources needed for each one of them.
Identify the gap between what you have and what you need to get these jobs. These could be skill gaps, experience gaps, qualification gaps, achievement gaps, etc.
Once you have assessed the gap between what you have and what you need to for the shortlisted careers, find different ways of filling the gap. For instance, take up online courses to learn new skills or apply for an internship to gain relevant experience. This will give you a feel for the job role as well.
If you are serious about a job role, you may even consider going back to college for a full-time course. There is no age for learning and changing your career track. For example, if you think that the MBA will give you a career boost then do not hesitate to enroll yourself in a business school. Make a practical choice, keeping in mind your personal circumstances. However, leaving a job and spending 2 years in an expensive business school may not be possible for everyone. Look for alternatives such as correspondence courses or part-time courses.
Talk to professionals and get an idea about the qualifications, experience, and skill requirements. You can also find job descriptions for various roles online. In case, if you doubt about the career options you have selected go and ask Mentors, there are different type of mentors helps you in better understanding of your interest. The right mentor, no matter what type, will give you guidance and help boost your career. About 80% of CEOs attribute their success to having worked with mentors.
4 Make A Final Choice
Out of all the options that you have listed, it is time to narrow down your options. Assess the cost you may need for each of the roles. Go for the role that fits in well with your interests, goals, and abilities. It is advisable to narrow down career to 2-3 options. If you have done your research and evaluation diligently, you will be more confident about the choice you will make.
Instead of just going through the pros and cons in your head, write them out in list form. It’s not just a matter of clarifying important points and picking aside. Keeping the list will help you minimise regret because if you start to second-guess yourself, later on, you’ll have evidence for why you made the decision you did.
Sometimes, a simple reminder that your choice was based on concrete factors and the best information you had at the time and wasn’t just made on guessing and it helps you in reconfigure your thinking so you feel better about the path you took.
5 Create an Action Plan
Now that you have finalised your career goal, create an action plan to achieve them. By now you should be clear about where you are and where you want to be. A career plan should be time-bound and practical to achieve.
From taking up a course to writing your cover letter and updating your resume, plan out each step in detail. Assign timelines for every step. Check off the tasks as you complete them. Be open to improvising along the way as and when needed.
In this fast-changing world, it is possible that the market or individual goals may also change. It is important to go back and evaluate your career plan. You may want to learn new skills or completely change your career path. It is important to stick to something that you truly like and are happy doing.
Tips for successful growth in career
- Keep updated: Career planning is a lifelong process. So keep reviewing your plan and update it as per the changing market.
- Keep options open: If you do not find a desired role or company in your city, be open to exploring other geographies.
- Be realistic: Keep in mind your personal circumstances and available resources.
- Network: Connect with professionals within your network. Getting someone’s support and advice can speed up the process and broaden your perspective.
- Switch career: It is never too late to start over. No matter how old you are, if you are not happy with your current profession, do not hesitate to switch.
- Find a mentor: Find a mentor or a coach within your network. It can make a huge difference to your career in the long run. You can also take the help of a professional counselor.
- One among One Million: Everyone can't be Sachin Tendulkar or Bill Gates but, we will be recognised and become famous in our chosen field by giving 100% in what we are doing by adding our talent and strengths to make our job innovative.
Trust me, I know finding your dream career isn’t easy, and the path can be scary. Think about how many years you’ll spend at work in your lifetime its 30 to 40 years. You want to make sure you’re using your time to your advantage, by pursuing a career that makes you happy, aligns with your values, utilizes your talents, and more. You have the power to get there, and now you have the tools to get started. Are you ready?