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Don’t leave your career to chance

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Not many of us have a clear vision of what we want from our career at a very young age. However, somewhere along the way, we have to realise that unless we decide on our career goals and take action to achieve them, where we end up will be a matter of luck. Begin your career planning today with this simple four-stage process.

1. Think about yourself

• What do you enjoy most about your role/profession/industry?

• Which are your most unique professional skills?

• Which are your most transferrable professional skills?

• Which aspect of your role are you best at? Where do you struggle?

• List your key career achievements.

2. Explore your options

Research career opportunities with your current employer

• Map the potential employers within your chosen industry

• Consider what options you have for professional development

• Analyse the career paths of successful people in your profession

• Consider the prospect of relocating, nationally or internationally

• Understand the alternative career paths available to you.

3. Establish your goals

• Write clearly defined, short statements that you can work towards. For example “In 10 years time I would like to be the finance director of a large commercial organisation”

• Be positive and realistic. Don’t underestimate what you can do. There is only one opportunity to be the next Barack Obama!

• Be aware of external forces and be able to flex your plan accordingly. If the employment market for your chosen industry or career takes a nosedive, adjust your timescales or create some kind of work around.

4. Take action

• Arrange a time to discuss your career plans with your manager/HR

• Take on additional projects that will give you essential experience

• Undertake further study or training if required

• Network effectively within and outside your organisation

• Take advice from industry contacts

• Establish a mentor

• Enlist the help ofspecialist recruitersin your field

• Maximise yoursocial media profile

• Work on your interview and presentation skills.

One final piece of advice, believe in yourself! If you have a thorough understanding of who you are, know your options and have created a realistic career plan, there is absolutely no reason you will not be able to achieve your goals. You are the author of your career goals, now become the person that makes them a reality.

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