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Your Career Is Too Important to Depend on Serendipity. Plan Your Future.

Updated: Jan 18

09/15/2023


Successful companies write strategic plans to set growth goals, distribute resources effectively, and adapt to changing markets. Just as companies benefit from such a well-thought-out roadmap, you can achieve greater success and fulfillment by creating a strategic plan for your career. It’ll give you a competitive advantage and keep your career path from getting tossed about like a leaf in the wind.


A well-crafted strategic plan lists your current objectives and charts your course to reach both short- and long-term goals. The plan also should include an agenda to ensure you're making informed decisions to achieve your long-term goals.


Here’s how to create that plan:


Self-Reflection

Consider your values, interests, and passions, then compare them to your your short- and long-term career aspirations. Some jobs are a perfect fit, while others will never make you happy. Explore which jobs fit best with who you are now, as well as which jobs will help you get to where you want to be.


SWOT Analysis

Now that you know what you want, look hard at who you are today. Conduct a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to identify your unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats that may impact your career path.


Action Plans

Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that align with your personal values and professional ambitions. Break down your long-term goals into actionable steps and create a timeline for achieving them. Consider the skills, knowledge, and experiences you need to acquire. Your action plans should include short-term and intermediate milestones for your ultimate objectives.


Networking and Professional Development

Build a network of contacts within your industry or field. Seek out mentors who can provide guidance and insights. They’ll help propel your career advancement. But don’t expect to rise by riding piggy-back. Invest in continuous learning and professional development to stay relevant and enhance your skill set. Your trade associations offer affordable continuing education classes. YouTube excels in providing educational opportunities on various topics, and a quick Google search can yield many low- or no-cost education options.


Review and Adaptation

A career strategic plan is not set in stone; it's a dynamic document that can and should change as your goals and circumstances evolve. Here's how you can adapt it effectively:


Regular Assessment - Review your career strategic plan annually or bi-annually. During these assessments, evaluate your progress, identify any deviations from your original plan, and assess whether your goals and priorities have changed.


Revised Objectives - If you conclude your career aspirations have shifted, update your objectives accordingly. This might involve altering your long-term goals, changing your focus area, or modifying the timeline for achieving certain milestones.


New Opportunities - Embrace unforeseen opportunities that align with your evolving goals. A flexible mindset allows you to capitalize on unexpected openings that can propel your career in a new and exciting direction.


Network Expansion - As your career goals change, so too may your network needs. Expand your network to include individuals who can support your evolving goals and provide fresh perspectives.


Creating a strategic plan for your career is a proactive and effective way to achieve your professional aspirations. Just as successful companies use strategic planning to guide their growth, individuals can benefit from a structured approach to career development. Remember that your career strategic plan is not static; it should adapt and evolve alongside your changing goals and changes in the industry. Invest in yourself to be better equipped to navigate your career path and to successfully achieve your desired career.


Live Fearlessly,

Dena

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