Work takes up too much of our lives to let it take its course.
Lifehacker together with Alena Vladimirskaya understand why it is important to think about professional development and how to prevent common mistakes when planning a career.
Headhunter, one of the largest experts in the area of recruitment and founder of the project “Antipasto”.
Why you need to plan a career
To plan a career need to come in your life where you want.
To wander in the dark, relying on the theory of probability — is also an option, which works on the principle of 50/50. You may be lucky, but maybe not. So is it worth the risk?
If you have not planned when and where you go on vacation you have or happen a magical adventure, or the worst experience of all. Both you will remember for the rest of their own lives.
And if unsuccessful leave a bitter disappointment, which can be corrected next summer, a failed career — irreparable mistake.
To fulfill your potential as a professional and to achieve certain career goals, just go with the flow will not work. And even if someday you are fortunate by luck to be in a decent position and to step onto a new rung on the career ladder, remember that it was an accident that may never happen again. What’s worse — the lack of a plan can throw you a few steps back.
Where to start career planning
Ask yourself: what do I want from a career?
As simple and trite as it may sound, you have to do it. And the answer in any case can not be abstract.
You have to honestly answer the question “What do I want from my career?”, and not just a General “I want interesting work.” What you want in a particular moment where you want to go, what to achieve and what you need to do?
Vague notion of “good work” will not help you, you need to make a list of specific items that are significant for you and in this moment of your life:
- What is the scope of activities I am interested in?
- I need a large international company or a small local enterprise?
- Is there a specific company that I want to develop?
- What position do I want?
- What responsibilities do I want?
- What responsibility am I willing to take?
- On what conditions I am willing or not willing to accept?
- How important to the team?
- What do I need a salary?
- Does the city and country where I will grow professionally?
This list goes on, based on your personal needs and priorities. It is important that the answers were honest, but the questions specific.
Consider your current needs
Throughout life, change our desires, capacities and priorities. In the different period on the adoption decisions are influenced by fundamentally different factors. At one point it may be the prestige of the company, the team and growth prospects in the other — banal existence of medical insurance.
Ask yourself questions at every stage of life, set your priorities and focus primarily on them.
What are the typical mistakes
You don’t end up ask yourself the question
You have not been able to formulate a specific question and continue to keep in mind an abstract image of a “good and interesting work.” You have to decide what the meaning of these words. There is no single correct description of a good job, everyone has their own requirements and selection criteria.
What to do
Be honest with yourself and do not generalize. Consider your goals when choosing a company or industry. If you need to work was interesting, determine what is the most interest. Interested people working in the company, your responsibilities or is it the salary offered?
Do you believe the myths about the industry in General or company in particular
Not knowing the specific industries that are not talking to people, working in attractive companies, you seriously run the risk to fall into the trap of the brand.
Well-built company image and stereotypes of the sectors can mislead anyone. For example, the popular belief that PR people sipping champagne at events, having fun and constantly communicate with interesting people. Not knowing the ins and outs, you might think that this is not a job, but a dream. But not everyone understands that between the three-hour event, the months of rigorous and routine training, sleepless nights and years of groundwork with the right contacts.
What to do
In the age of social media to complain about the lack of communication. You always can ask your potential colleagues to know the peculiarities of work and hear what difficulties can wait.
Nobody cancelled the attendance of trade seminars or webinars — this will allow to know the industry and its representatives closer. You will be able to ask questions, to acquire useful connections and to understand something that you need or not.
What might stop on the way to a dream career
You are undisciplined
If you are an avid procrastinator and you have problems with self-organization, the search for a dream job you will be a very long time. And, perhaps, to no avail.
What to do
First you have to change the approach to the process. Learn to assess your resources and ability to put adequate time on the performance of certain tasks. Start recording what you are doing to achieve the goal, what has been done and what hadn’t begun how much time and effort was spent performing each of the items. So you will see that you easy, but that comes out only under duress.
You need to revise your plan
You made a mistake in your plan. You might unwittingly to deceive themselves, writing in the plan is not your real goal, to get confused in setting priorities or identify inaccurate sequence of steps.
What to do
Be guided by your wishes and possibilities. Even if everything around trumpeting that you need a leadership position in a large international company, although you like a small local business where you need to lead a few people.
Reconsider your actions and answer the question: why didn’t they bring me where was I going?
- Ask yourself only clear, specific and honest questions.
- Do this periodically in order to understand current priorities.
- Focus only on your needs.
- Find out information about your desired career field employees and don’t rely on images and stereotypes.
- Remember that your career is in your hands.