Planning what you will do for a living in the future is an important step to your life. It should also be done as soon as possible to be able to find your true calling at an early stage. But because your passion and interests as well as the external factors that affect your capabilities and motivation can change over time, it’s best to keep your plans flexible.
The Initial Stage
How can you plan for something that will have a chance to constantly change in the future? Well, it’s simple. Understand who you are and acquire the skills you can use whatever your work is or whatever industry you’re in. Here are some simple steps you can take as a start:
- Assess your passion and interest. Life tends to be easy when you’re doing something that you love. So when you’re at a point where you’re confused how you should plan your career, look deep into your heart to know what you’re really passionate about. From there, think of ways of how you can let this interest develop into something that brings you personal and professional growth. Do you love to design elegant yet practical clothes? Perhaps you can be a fashion designer someday.
- Discover your capabilities. It doesn’t have to be part of your passion or interest, but it would be an advantage if they are. Can you work on numbers efficiently and accurately? Can you put technical literature into layman’s terms for easy comprehension? Can you cook delectable dishes? Can you speak or at least comprehend other languages? By knowing what you can do, you will be able to determine the skills you need to improve later on. You can also use your current skills to earn money that you can pay for trainings.
- Set a career goal. What’s the ultimate job you want to achieve? What companies are you eyeing to work in? Are you considering running your own business? By having a specific goal in mind, you will have the motivation to pursue your career plans. It will also help guide you when making decisions regarding your career. For example, when you want to be one of the international avant-garde clothing designers, you can decide to enrol in a prestigious fashion college located in London, which is one of the fashion capitals in the world.
- Acquire transferrable knowledge while you’re schooling. These are the abilities and skills that you can use in various aspects of your life whether professionally or socially. In short, you will also be able to use them in any job and in any industry. These include research, numeracy, written communication, listening and analytical skills. The best place to hone them is in school, so if you’re one of the lucky students who get to enrol in educational establishments for free or at a low rate, make sure to master as many of these skills as possible.
- Explore what extra-curricular activities you can engage in to boost your skills. The important transferrable skills are not just gained through your academics. They can also be acquired or enhanced when you join organisations that cater to your interests and passion. Whether it’s focusing on sports, fashion design, music, science or mathematics, among others – joining a club can further help in achieving professional and personal growth.
Your Working Years
Even after you graduate from school, your pursuit for education shouldn’t stop. As you slowly go through your career path through the years, you need to be mindful of your goals and constantly check if you’re on the right path.
Check out these tips to guide you throughout your working years:
- Learn as much as possible in your current job. Whether you have your current job because it’s part of your career path or just because it will earn you money you can spend for personal and professional growth, make the most of your time by processing how you can apply what you learned. Does your office admin job improve your numeracy skills as well as your research and analytical capabilities? Does your sales and marketing job help you improve your listening and social skills as well as improve your knowledge about business planning and industry analysis?
- Seek out opportunities for more knowledge and skills training. There are various ways to further boost your skills and knowledge. Although you can focus on those that can help you on your current job, it’s also wise to invest on improving your transferrable skills. Keep an eye on seminars, conferences, weekend trainings and other similar events. You should also consider developing your hobbies, whether it’s fashion design, robotics or gardening. Besides, all work and no play makes one dull, right?
- Expand your professional network. The more people know you and your skills, the more they’re likely to call you should there be a job opportunity that best suits you. There are so many ways to expand your network, and you can start with the people you’re currently working with, including your colleagues, your boss and your business clients. You can also attend conferences and network with like-minded professionals. Joining organisations and clubs that suit your interests is also a good way to expand your social and professional circle.
- Make career planning a yearly habit. To help you monitor your progress and ensure that you’re on the right track, assess your career every year. List down what your passions and interests are now. Take note of what abilities, expertise and skills you have now that are useful in your job. Analyse your past, and see what you can learn from it and how you can apply that learning in the future. What news skills are available in this modern time? In short, reassess your career plans and update them if necessary.
Be Flexible With Your Plans
If later on you feel that you don’t have the passion for your ultimate career goal any longer, assess your situation to see if you need to change your path. As you gain experience in various companies and jobs, you will sometimes realise that you’re more passionate with something else. Maybe you were eyeing an engineering position and later on realised that you prefer a job that lets you constantly meet other people and discuss ideas. Or perhaps you realise that the hospitality industry is not for you. Or maybe the career you’re planning is not lucrative any longer by the time you’ll achieve it.
Don’t feel guilty to change your career plans drastically. Besides, the best way to enjoy your life is when you’re spending your days doing the things that you want to do. So don’t be too rigid with your career planning. Be flexible enough to adapt to changes later on.