We are always planning. We plan our vacations, we prepare a grocery list based on what we plan to make for dinner, we plan, we plan, we plan. However, do we really take the time for career planning? An important part of retirement planning is career planning. If we determine how much we need for retirement a large piece of that puzzle is to achieve those earnings that allow us to reach our retirement goals.
Career Planning Basics
Generally speaking, the basics of career planning has to do with understanding your field, what options are available and what are the required skills. This helps you get a basic lay of the land so to speak. You want to strive to be an expert within your field. That will help you explore a number of possibilities later on down the road. It is important to have options available to you especially when navigating through times of uncertainty.
Be Open to Challenging Possibilities
When I was heading up a human resources department, we had some rising stars that we could basically put into many different departments. We had someone who excelled in business development, marketing and operations. Marketing and operations for example require a very different skill set, yet this team member was able to successfully navigate through these very different roles. She was open to different possibilities. She had the intelligence, business sense, interpersonal skills and knowledge of the business that helped her shine. We as a company were very open to offering internal opportunities and taking some risks in promoting career development. We were very proud of this talented leader and she served as example for many.
Companies will be impressed with a broad skill set. It will be to your benefit if you are suddenly met with company layoffs, acquisitions or some other level of uncertainty at your company. If you are impacted then you will have a broad skill set to apply for other internal opportunities and more choices for jobs externally.
Elevating Your Skills
Take the time to honestly assess your skill set. Look at different data points. You can look at your performance review results, feedback from your manager and others in the company. Seek feedback from individuals you trust and admire. Do your own research to understand what jobs are in demand and external job postings that interest you. Carefully review the requirements and identify any potential skill gaps, new technologies or simply things you want to learn more about. Develop a realistic plan of action. You should focus on two to three things you want to work on.
When it comes to career planning, constantly staying current with technology and elevating your soft skills is very important. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day and not prioritize elevating your career. Your work is where you spend most of your time. It allows you to be financially independent and to save for your retirement. Focusing on your career development is making an investment in yourself and your future. You deserve to have a rewarding and fulfilling career.