How to Develop a Career Plan For the Long Term

Career Plan

All 3 of my kids have now effectively chosen their career.

My eldest daughter is an accountant. My son is in IT, and my youngest is just about to go to University to study Architecture.

But their career choices (and their success) has been the result of many hours of research, thought and discussion

So I thought I would try and document the process that each of them went through

If you are just on the brink of starting your career,  or you are thinking of changing careers,  now is your time to get it done and this foolproof plan is all you need:

First of all just remember it is your career.   Although your family, parents, friends have a stake on your choice, at the end (or rather at the beginning) of the day you are the one that will have to roll your sleeves up and get on with it.

1. Research and Identify a Career You Might Like.

This step may seem obvious but there will be a number of careers that will interest you and it is perfectly normal to switch your interest from one career path to another wherever you are in life. So do a little research and start by writing them down in a list.

  • Writing them down makes the interest a little more "formal".
  • Go with how you feel about the career - not your parents or teachers or anyone else. After all, it is you that is going to be doing the job for 40 years.
  • So write down what excites you, the sort of work you might dream about.

2. What is Driving Your Interest?

Now it's time to shortlist the big list. Be really honest with yourself and think about the real reasons for your interest.

  • Is one particular career a "family tradition?". Forget that for a minute, and think about what you want.
  • How much money do you want to make? If you want a career that ultimately pays big then you will need to develop a career plan to get there
  • What motivates you?  - The important thing is to think - really think - about what motivates you. It might be money. Or it might be doing something you love. Or it might be helping others. Or bettering the planet.

3. How Do I Get There ?

Now you need to get creative and do some research and develop a plan for getting to your dream career

My manager is fond of the phrase "what is the plan?" if faced with an ambiguous outcome, so now is the time to put in place your career plan. Use the internet as your research tool.

Use the internet as your research tool.  Go to careers fairs, or talk to people already pursuing your career interest

You will likely need education and training so it's useful to know what you need to get where you need to go.

  • So research legitimate courses, degree programs or apprenticeships.
  • Look for opportunities for an Internship. It may not pay a lot but it could be a means to an end to get where you want to go. An internship where you gain relevant experience can also look very good on your resume.
  • Look for other ways you can gain experience by taking a part time job.  At the very least it will be an opportunity to demonstrate qualities such as reliability, teamwork, leadership that an employee might be interested in

Write down your career plan (even as a list on a piece of paper) and try and make every decision you make to be in the context of that plan

 

You're at a crucial stage in life. Making a career decision that suits you is a great start on the road to future happiness. So take some time out to focus on your plan.

You owe it to yourself to succeed! Become that success story and the kind of example other people can follow. Go for it and do something that you will be proud of in the future.

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