Some people love to have a plan. They plan a weekly menu ahead of time. They plan their social life six months in advance. And on holidays, they’ve got a complete itinerary mapped out. Others are a little more laissez-fair, living life more ‘by the seat of their pants’ style. They’re spur of the moment types who, on holiday, just set out and see where the road leads.
While both of these approaches can work, there are things in life that are worth taking the time to carefully consider – like your career plan. Without one, what are you even doing with your life?
Okay, that last bit might have been a little harsh. What I’m really trying to say is, you’ve investing a lot of time and money, maybe more than a little stress, and a great deal of grit and determination in making your degree a reality. And like any investment, you want it to pay dividends. Having a career plan will help make that happen.
Career planning is a process that allows you to identify your strengths and interests so you can discover professional opportunities you’re likely to enjoy and excel in. It’s important to understand that, as a process, career planning is not a one-stop shop kind of thing. Your career plan will develop and even change over time, so it’s important to re-visit it often.
So, where to begin? Let’s start with where you’re at right now…
It’s important to identify your strengths, personality, skills, talents and interests to make informed decisions. You can determine these through various tools, including personality type evaluations, or by completing Curtin Careers’ Explore Your Options Challenge online.
After you determine your qualities and aptitudes, decide which types of careers you’re interested in by doing some research. Start with a list of roles and industries provided by your self-assessments and compile a list of characteristics in the work environment, responsibilities and the work/life balance you want in your career. Look at the general description of each profession, along with current labour market information, including the projected future growth, educational and training requirements, and the likelihood of being hired after meeting all the requirements.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of possible careers, find ways to experience each career in person. This might include job shadowing someone in the industry for a few days, conducting an informational interview with an industry professional, or seeking out a volunteering role, part-time gig or internship opportunity, to name a few. What’s important here is to gain an understanding of what the job is really like on a day by day basis.
Now it’s time to put your plan in motion! Gather all the information you have from your self-assessments, research and explorations, and determine an action plan. Create detailed lists of short- and long-term goals you will need to achieve to reach your career objective. You should include all of the occupational, educational and training goals required to pursue your chosen career path. You should also consider the barriers to reaching those goals and how you plan to overcome them.
And a final thought – it’s important to remember that this is a process and it will take time. Don’t just have your eyes on the destination, enjoy the journey as you go and accept you may have the odd detour or two along the way!
If you’d like to talk to one of the Curtin Careers team about developing your own career plan, book a Careers Conversation – these chats can be held in-person or over the phone.