August 22, 2016
Are you just back from vacation, feeling refreshed and ready to take on more career challenges? Now’s the time to use that energy to propel yourself forward by creating a career development plan! Here’s how.
Look in the mirror. Begin by seeing yourself as a competitive product. Take inventory of your strengths, weaknesses and differentiators, and then challenge yourself by facing any weaknesses and making improvements. What books can you read or seminars can you attend to improve your professional skills?
Define your career aspirations. If you don’t know where you want to go, how will you get there? Take time to clearly define your aspirations. Where do you want to be in your career in three years, five years, 10 years?
Get to know the competition. Competition is a fact of life. How do your skills stack up against others? Understanding your competition will help you determine your advantages and shortcomings, and help you decide on the actions you need to take to better compete by improving yourself.
Determine your differentiators. Differentiators are the distinctive attributes that set you apart from others. They’re the most important assets you have that make you unique and help you stand out. Your differentiators will become your personal elevator pitch or personal brand so you can easily respond when hiring managers ask: “Why should I hire you over all the other candidates?”
Identify your goals and create your plan. Goals reflect what you want to accomplish to improve yourself and to continue moving forward in your career. They ensure you are headed in the right direction and will achieve your aspirations quickly and efficiently. They are the steppingstones to your career aspirations.
Don’t wait to get started. There’s no time like the present. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back. Career development plans, like ideas, are effective only if you implement them.
Celebrate your successes. Don’t wait for others to shine a light on your accomplishments. Give yourself encouragement and rewards (new shoes, a movie night, a special dinner) to help provide motivation and inspiration as you continue on your path to accomplish your career dreams.
As the old saying goes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve always been.” With summer coming to a close soon, it’s the perfect time to change what you’ve been doing.
So go ahead! Dare to dream about where you want to go in your career – and then create a plan of action that will help you achieve those dreams.
(Photo: Purchased from iStock)