Having a strategic career plan will help achieve goals

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Whose responsibility is it to manage your career? Have you placed the fate of your career in the hands of someone else’s? Are you easily distracted and quick to lose focus of your career goals? Have your career stalled?

Have you placed career on cruise control rather than gauging the pace of it? Or have you adopted what I call, the “putty clay approach” to managing your career? The “putty clay approach” means you allow others and/or circumstances outside of yourself to dictate what you should do and when you should do it as it relates to making career decisions.

If you are contemplating making a career change, you need to understand that one size does not fit all and taking a cooking cutter approach is ineffective and unproductive when it comes to making a career change. Secondly, you must take ownership of your career and understand that you have to be the one to decide what you want in your career and devise a plan on how to get there.

What do you hope to accomplish in your career change? What is behind you decision to change career? Knowing the answers to these questions help you to evaluate your current goals and to adjust your strategies to align with your mission.

For example, several months ago, I spent time talking with an a woman who not only contemplated making a career change, but made the career change from engineer to psychiatrist. She had a goal and devised her plan for making her dream a realization. I mentioned her story because I hope it will inspire and motivate you.

The former engineer now psychiatrist understood that her plan was long term. You, too, must understand that this process may require steps that will take two to five years or more in the future.

The Career Strategic Management Process include the following:

1. Identify your mission, objectives, and strategies for changing career

2. Study the environment related to your chosen career. It is imperative that you consider both the opportunities and threats that could support or hinder you career change.

3. Examine your resources and know your qualifications. Ascertain your strengths and weaknesses.

4. Formulate you plan of action for the career change and Implement your career strategies, and then

5. Reflect on your results.

It is imperative that time is spent on researching and analyzing all external factors pertinent to the chosen career which may include but not limited to the trends and demands for your chosen career, the availability of potential employers in the immediate area, possible alternative paths to the career, and your competition.

You need to spend time in identifying the opportunities and knowing what are some of the potential threats/barriers to obtaining your career.

When was the last time you asked yourself what you are good at? What qualities or skills do you possess? What are the qualities/skills that you need to develop? Having a strategic career plan will help you to define the action steps by which you intend to take in order to achieve your goals.

Debbie Walker, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Job and Career Transition Coach, can be reached at (706) 550-5008.


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