by Paul Hastings
The following is just a short summary of the necessary steps to achieve job success. A good Career Development Plan will fill in the essential details to reach the goal of fulfilling your work potential.
- Be prepared to put in effort. The first law for anyone embarking on a new career search is that it takes effort. There is no shortcut, although many tools can make the task easier and quicker. But the key, is to remember there is a goal: fulfilling and rewarding work that could last a lifetime. What is it worth to put in effort now that will pay dividends in the years ahead? Experts say we could change our careers five times during our working lives. Which number are you on now? If this is your first, the second will be easier if you get the process right this time.
- Get to know yourself. We may need to take some form of aptitude test, interest inventory, or personality test to determine our aptitudes and abilities. These are the tools that make life much easier at this stage of your life, although they are no substitute for the effort required to fulfill the objective. They are a necessary part of the process.
We need to know our strengths and weaknesses, interest areas, likes and dislikes, work environment preferences, stress factors, personality traits, social factors (how we respond in any given work-situation), and many more areas that can be discovered in taking an aptitude or personality questionnaire. Getting to know yourself is vital to take your unique personality and character, and match it up with suitable and appropriate work.
- Develop a career plan. Identify your next career steps. To start off, review the studies from No. 2. It is essential to know who you are, and what sort of job you’re looking for. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else. Define the job objective clearly and concisely. Do you need further education or retraining? Where will you market yourself? Will you need to relocate to attain the job of your choice? You will need to prepare marketing tools (resume, cover letters, business cards); do you have a current resume that describes all of your experience and skills?
Don’t forget that you are in control now. No more drifting into whatever comes along. You can say: “This is what I want to do, and I’ll move heaven and earth to get it!” You need to write out a plan, mapping out logical steps leading from where you are now, to where you expect to be in six months, a year, five years.
Another very important thing to consider at this stage, is whether you are prepared for obstacles. Life does not consist of smooth, straight roads devoid of bumps or corners. Get mentally prepared for the long haul, even though we may get lucky and secure the perfect position early on in your campaign.
- Put your plans into action. Action requires self-discipline and organization. You are embarking upon a marketing campaign, to secure for yourself a position that will allow you to achieve your fullest potential in the job market. The steps mentioned in No. 3 need to be in place at this juncture.
Executing your plan now requires action. You need to employ drive — prod yourself to accomplish your goals. Set targets to be achieved in a certain time frame. Do whatever is necessary to achieve the goal
- Regularly review your career progress. This last step cannot be overemphasized. Review all the steps you have taken and assess whether or not you are on course or off track. Sometimes revision is necessary to meet the needs of both yourself and the job market.
Getting feedback from potential employers can assist you in this very important area. Listening to feedback helps us to sharpen our efforts and be ready for action. Does your resume impress a human resources manager or hiring manager? Are your cover letters concise and to the point? Is your overall marketing strategy proving to be effective in securing interviews?
Lastly, are you making sufficient progress in our plans, or do you need more support? Sometimes it helps to talk these things over with a professional counselor, or even a friend. An objective point of view helps you to see things from a different perspective, and can encourage us to literally launch ourselves into more action with tremendous energy. Never be put off by apparent lack of success. Persistence is the key here. Keep going, and a rewarding and fulfilling career can be yours.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Among his credentials, Paul Hastings is a Certificated Professional Career Consultant. His past experience includes: employment counselor, job search consultant, work experience coordinator, career development consultant, mental health services professional, and a published writer. Paul Hastings Consulting Group, situated in Victoria, BC, Canada, has been involved in Human Resources work for over a decade, working in the field of career development with clients from all walks of life. For more information on a Career Plan, Interest Inventories, or aptitude testing, Contact: Paul Hastings Consulting Group for more help. Copyright Paul Hastings Consulting Group.