In today’s world everything happens instantly. Our fastest computers are operating at 1.6 gigahertz, we eat food that is cooked within seconds and we often expect our careers to move just as fast. Yet new opportunities can still take weeks or months to emerge. If you’re not very established or thinking of changing careers, the move can take twice as long as you predict. So how do you go about planning and strategising for forging your dream career?
Careers vs Money
There are times when you have to take the first job you are offered just so you can pay the bills. But, taking a job just for the money when you really wanted to make a strategic career move could leave you frustrated.With careful planning, you can spot jobs and opportunities that will get you where you want to go. In the long run, you want to be making good money in your preferred field. It might take months or even years to reach your ideal salary, but don’t get discouraged. No matter how easy it seems, most successful people have worked long and hard at their careers to reach the top of their game. Sometimes you see someone at the top and chalk it up to luck. It is true that part of success is being in the right place at the right time, but planning and being savvy about the opportunities that come your way are what most great careers are built on.
Spend time planning your career but don’t plan so rigidly that you aren’t open to interesting options you hadn’t considered before. Be open minded and view everything as a positive opportunity to get you to where you want to be.Career planning is not like party planning. It doesn’t just happen and then it’s over. You have to keep doing it. You should aim to do one career-building task every week. This could be learning new skills, expanding your professional network, learning more about your industry, or finding mentorship from someone else about your future possibilities. It is important to remember to be active in your approach – don’t just rest on your laurels. People doing the best in their chosen industries are constantly adapting themselves to maneuver the changing job market.
Pursue personal projects
Decide what you want your career to be and make your opportunities match that. Sometimes, you have to take the role employers give you. But you can also make roles for yourself by pursuing personal projects, and those help you further your career. If you want to be a writer, dedicate some of your spare time to doing what you love. This will show your passion for the area you’re interested in, whilst also developing your skills.Better yet, create projects aligned to where you want to go within your workplace. Make your own opportunities. For example, if you are working as a bookkeeper, you could become department newsletter editor. Even if the job takes a few more hours a week, creating, editing, and writing, a department newsletter pulls you closer to your long-term career goal.
What does all of this mean?
Positioning yourself in your career happens one step at a time, but this can’t happen without planning and taking action. The key is taking the time to identify exactly what you want, visualising and planning the steps to get you there – and most importantly of all, acting on what you’ve planned. Be proactive in developing the right skills, knowledge and connections and eventually, nail your dream job.