Don’t Fail to Plan

Do you have a career plan?  Many job seekers don’t.  This is surprising since looking for a job without a career plan is like trying to get somewhere without a map (or even a destination).  A career plan helps you to focus your energy and anticipate roadblocks so that you can achieve your goals as soon as possible.  Here are some guidelines to help you get on the right track with your career plan: 

Base your career plan on current labour market information.  Even the best plan won’t help you if it’s not based on today’s labour market conditions.  For example, if there are no zookeeper positions available, no matter how much education and experience you have, and how much networking you do, it will be difficult for you to find a zookeeper job.  You need to review the positions that are currently open, and pay attention to the news to help you identify emerging trends and industries.  This will give you the information that you need to set a goal that is realistic and achievable.

Look at the job requirements.  In order to make sure that you are using your time effectively, it is important that you review job postings, and take note of the requirements for the position that you are targeting.  This will help you identify the steps that you need to take to make you competitive for your target job.  It is also important to remember that positions with the same title can vary significantly. By looking at a variety of positions with similar job titles, you can make sure that you have a complete perspective on the requirements for the job. 

Set out a clear and detailed timeline.  In order to stay on track and to use your time effectively, you need to have a clear outline of your tasks with an expected completion date.  Without a clear timeline, it is easy to lose focus, waste time, and discover that after six months, you are no closer to your goal.

Make your career plan a live document.  Your career plan should not be something that you create and forget about.  It should be a document that you review daily.  It helps to have a to-do list where you check off tasks as you complete them.  If you are regularly referring to your career plan, you will be constantly reminded of your goals, and you can actually see your progress.  This helps to keep you focused and motivated.

Choose a goal that gets you excited.  It will be difficult for you to be successful if you are not passionate about your career goal.  Job searching can be challenging, but if you are enthusiastic about your goal, it will carry you through the tough times.  Choose a job that will make you happy to wake up in the morning, and it will sustain you through your job search and into your career.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: Stuart Miles / )

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