Building a career plan is a very individual affair and will depend on your own abilities, needs and what motivates you. A good career coach will help you build a personal strategy for putting your career aspirations into an actionable plan. Coaching can help you explore and realize your possibilities however you will decide what you are going to put into action and pace yourself. This said, I often get asked what my top tips and tricks are for career building in large corporations.
Here are my Top 10:
- Don’t leave things up to Chance ! This is all about setting time aside to plan your career. Think about how much time you set aside planning your last vacation and now compare that to how much time you are currently spending planning your career. If you don’t proactively plan and set time aside for yourself to plan .. chances are you never will. So set aside at least an hour a quarter in your calendar with yourself and good career coach to plan. Treat Yourself ! Find the best time and place that works for you and block the time in your calendar so nobody takes it aware.
- Take Care of yourself ! Managers will change and move on. So make sure you don’t become dependent on anyone else when planning your career. Even the best and most sensible of managers will be thinking of their next move and most of the time they won’t be counting you in their plans.
- Understand and know yourself well ! The one person who has spent the most time with yourself in your life is yourself. Nobody knows you as well as yourself ! You may not be aware of your needs, strengths and capabilities. A good coaching session and some simple psychometric tests will open up new doors and perspectives.
- Think with the end in Mind – Thing big and plan long term. Define where you want to be and not where you are. Do not limit yourself to when you are today rather think how you would like it to be ! The best jobs are the ones you create yourself not the ones you apply for ! (most of the time jobs have been created for a specific person)
- Build off your strengths – Right from school onwards we are conditioned into trying to improve what we are not naturally good at! Don’t waste too much time trying to be good at something that you don’t believe in, rather instead focus your energy in excelling at what you are really good at. So called flaws or weaknesses should be framed as development areas.
- Nurture your professional Network – Top performers in large companies are people who are influential beyond their immediate department. Make sure you are connected to the right people across your organisation. Use your network smartly when source knowledge and information. Including Mentors and sponsors in your career network will help create awareness of yourself and your skill set in others.
- Build Feedback loops into your Professional Development – Once you have a plan of where you want to take your career to, make sure you are sharing it with others and getting insights. Take time to not only share but also to take other perspectives on board. Communication is a two way process, so make sure you are spending time listening.
- Leverage the Career Development Tools & Resources at your disposal. In addition, most companies have programs and resources to help employees build careers. These resources may not be transparent and immediately visible. Find out where these resources are and who own them!
- Build a master Plan ! You will need to find a way to formalize or capture your thoughts. Make sure you put it into onto paper ! Digital is good, writing it down in your own words in your own handwriting is better. A good career plan is a simple set of concrete and actionable steps – built on the above mantras. This is not about massive laundry lists of items, I recommend 3 step plans. Set a time frame against anything you wish to realise what you set out to achieve. Make sure everything you put in the plan is measurable and achievable.
- Explore your possibilities – this is the easiest part of the plan ! Once you know what you want it becomes a lot easier finding it than if you are searching for something abstract and vague.
If you are able to focus and start on only a few of these at a time, you will begin to see a difference, the combined power should have a noticeable impact. If you would like support or help working on any of them – please feel free to reach out. And Good luck building your future !