Planning your career can be difficult, but having the right approach can make it much easier. No matter where you are in your career, [email protected]’s four-phase approach to career planning can help you break things down into manageable steps.
Phase 1: Assess
What do you really want to do with your career? It’s an important question.
Uncover the answer by considering thinking about your interests, priorities, and goals. Questionnaires like the My Career Fit Tool can help you understand your work interests and environment preferences. As you assess yourself, focus on your strengths. Your greatest career growth can actually come from further developing your sharpest skills.
Finally, think about tradeoffs you are willing to make in your career. Would you accept a longer commute to make more money? Considering a tradeoff like this helps you shed light on your priorities.
Phase 2: Explore
Next, look for opportunities to learn and move toward your goals. Research various career paths on your own or network with others who work in a field that interests you. Also, try finding a mentor to talk to about next steps or developmental opportunities.
Another great activity is shadowing someone at work. When you observe someone for a day in their field, you can better determine if it could be a good fit for you.
Phase 3: Plan
Now that you understand yourself and the career possibilities in front of you, you are ready to create a plan. An Individual Development Plan (IDP) can make the planning process easier by providing structure.
Use the SMART method to set career goals in your IDP and determine concrete steps you will take to achieve them. Do you need certain training courses to be considered for a new position? Are there experiences you can gain in your current position that will qualify you for the next level? Put all of it in your IDP.
Phase 4: Take Action
Now, put your plan in motion. You may need to dedicate a few hours to your planned activities each week. As you complete your plan, gather feedback from a supervisor or mentor. Review and adjust your IDP as you go.
These four phases will help you plan your way to the career you want. Remember to be flexible – as your priorities evolve, feel free to bounce back and forth between the four phases as you need.
Andre J. Castillo is the Program Manager for [email protected], a career development program.
Andre J. Castillo is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.