Rarely is success down to luck. To succeed in your career, there are dozens of things that you need to do including working long hours from time to time, making difficult decisions and taking a risk or two, but what else do you need?
My Career Plan
The first thing you need is a Career Plan. I remember my first career plan – I still have it today. It is a tatty, well-thumbed, one page of foolscap. I wrote it whilst working for the Hotel and Catering Industry Training Board – my first employer after university. Apparently by the age of 35, I had planned to work for a ‘human resources management business managing a team of trainers’ and ‘earning over £30K per annum with a fully expensed car’ and be a ‘member of the Institute of Training and Development’.
I think my salary was quite a bit little less than that; ITD no longer exists and is now the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, but it was not too far off the mark.
Get Professionally Qualified in Six Steps
Of course we all need a little luck from time-to-time, but professionals do not rely on luck – they plan out the need for luck. They develop and implement strategies; they network with the right people and they make sure they possess the right experience and the right qualifications – they have a career plan.
Here are the six steps that I use to plan my career:
Step 1: Review: Where Am I Right Now?
I know this might sound boring, but you need to take stock. This is a process much like doing an inventory check to determine what products or assets you have in stock. It means listing your skills, knowledge, achievements. It means knowing and reviewing what you know and who you know. It means taking a good, long, critical look at yourself through the eyes of your current or a prospective employer.
Step 2: Set Career and Job Goals
Now you need to define where you want to go to. Too many people work long and hard in their work without having any idea about their next career move, let alone their long term career goal. My goal was to set up my own management training business by the time I was 40.
What is your long term goal?
Step 3: Check Out Your Professional Body
Every industry has a professional body and therefore it makes sense to know all about what they do and how they can help you. My professional body was the Institute of Training and Development. Knowing this I made sure I was eligible to become a member. Later, I needed to align myself with the management professional body and hence I learned all about the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
Which professional body represents your profession?
Step 4: Choose Your Qualification
To keep my qualifications up-to-date and in-line with my Career Plan, I planned for and undertook numerous professional qualifications relevant to where I was in my Career Plan. Looking at my 1987 Career Plan, I can see I planned to eventually set up a training business and therefore I completed a Masters in Training. I now hold various professional qualifications which were all relevant to different stages of my career.
Which qualification and what experience do you need for the next stage of your career?
Step 5: Learn, Implement and Network
Qualifications are important, but not at the expense of or in place of experience. If you choose the right professional qualification with the right Centre, like Exponential Training, you gain the experience whilst completing the qualification – check out Exponential Training – Changing the Way We Learn at Work.
Choosing a qualification such as a CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership, you will apply what you learn; you will be able to network with like-minded managers; and implement your newly acquired knowledge and skills to improve your impact and performance at work.
Step 6: Make Career Planning an Annual Process
Step 6 gives you a clue about being professionally qualified. Professionals know that personal and professional development is a continuous process. I now run my own management training business and achieved that goal a long time ago. Despite this, I still undertake Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Why? Because tomorrow yesterday’s skills and knowledge are already out of date. For this reason, I still carry out my annual ‘skills check-up’ to identify what I need to learn. In other words, I go back to Step 1.
Career Plan Template
To help you to start to put together your own Career Plan I have designed a FREE template which you can download and use. ‘My Career Plan’ is based on the six steps and I recommend you read and take the time to complete it.
To get your copy of My Career Plan, click the button below: