Becoming a leader doesn’t happen by chance. If you’re trying to level up in your career, it’ll take some planning.
To build a successful career, you’ll want to spend time reflecting.
You’ll need to define what you want. And map out the moves you’ll make to get there. That’s what career planning does for you.
Having a career plan helps you own your career.
Why is this so important? When it comes to your career if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.
Let’s talk more about career planning and why it’s so important.
What is Career Planning?
Career planning is the process of defining what you want to do with your career and how you’ll get there.
It helps you outline your career development goals and reevaluate them over time. Career path planning looks different for everyone.
It starts with understanding your unique gifts and interests. Then you can explore which opportunities make sense for you.
And if there are none, learn to create one. The internet made this easier. There are many grants and resources available to help you start a business.
You don’t create a career plan then check out. It is ongoing. You come back to it as you or the world changes.
When Should You Start Career Planning?
You can start career planning at any stage of your career.
It’s never too late or early to start working on your professional development goals.
Here are a few great times to begin career planning:
- Before launching a job search
- After being fired or laid off from a job
- Before a performance review at work
- During a global crisis that could impact your industry
- Leading up to college graduation
- Prior to investing in higher education
- Before launching a business
What should you include in a career plan?
A career plan should include a set of SMART goals that lay out what you want to be doing in your career in one, five, and ten years from now.
SMART goals will help hold you accountable. They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive goals.
Once you’ve outlined your one, five, and ten-year goals — you can set supporting goals within each.
Your supporting goals are short-term goals you set in each stage to help you reach your long-term goals.
For example, if your five-year goal is to become a human resources manager.
Your supporting goals can look like attending HR conferences and getting HR certifications.
Why Career Planning is Important
There are many benefits to career planning. Here are the top reasons why planning your career is so important.
1. Having a career plan can boost your confidence
When your current situation is opposite from your dream life, it can make your goals feel unrealistic.
Having clear action steps can make your goals feel achievable.
It will give you confidence in your ability to crush them. No matter your current position in life.
2. Your career could impact your health
Making the right career choices can be a life or death decision. Work stress is related to hypertension, obesity, and even depression.
Studies show that job strain is associated with a 45% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Any one of these can make your life harder than it needs to be. In other words, career path planning could literally save your life.
When career planning, plan for a career path that won’t lead you to a lifetime of therapy bills. Your peace of mind is not for sale!
3. Career Planning helps you learn what’s not working
You start to notice patterns when you’re consistently reflecting on your work life.
These patterns will give you clues to what’s working and what’s not. Pay attention to consistent negative reviews at work or tasks that drain you.
They can be signs of what’s not working in your career. Part of this journey involves reevaluating your path forward.
4. You’ll find educational and learning opportunities
Once you know what’s not working in your career, now it’s time to do something about it. Professional development planning helps you discover where you need a little more education.
It could mean taking online courses, getting a certification, or going to graduate school.
5. Careers take up so much of your life
On average, people spend 13 years and two months at work and only 328 days socializing with friends throughout a lifetime, according to one stat from HuffPost.
Let that sink in for a little. If that doesn’t motivate you to choose a career you love, not sure what will.
6. You’ll have ownership over your career
There are many things in your career that are out of your control.
Career planning isn’t one of them. If done right, it gives you the power to decide your next moves.
You’ll get a lot of advice throughout your professional life. Only you can decide what’s right and what’s not.
Let the freedom of choice empower you.
Getting Started with Career Planning
We’ve talked about career planning and its importance.
Now it’s time to take action. To get started, grab our career planner! It walks you step by step through how to set your one, five, and 10-year professional goals.
The workbook walks you through a series of self-discovery activities that help you map out your next move.
As a bonus, you’ll get a networking tracker. Because leveling up isn’t something you can do alone.
Grab our career planner at NetWerk® University!
Now It’s Your Turn
What’s the most surprising fact about career planning?
Head over to our comments section on social @netwerkmovement and let us know! Share this with someone who needs it.