After four years, focusing solely on earning a degree, you are about to graduate. The career office will assist you with your resume and cover letter, and job leads come in all the time, so you will have the opportunity to apply for your first job. But you suspect that there is a lot more to do, and you are correct. You have a sense of the career path that you want to embark on, but to ensure that you end up where you want to go, you need to develop a career management plan. A career management plan is a roadmap of your career in various stages. It’s a loosely mapped out plan to allow you to capitalize on the opportunities that may come your way.
To get the process started, spend some time seriously thinking about where you would like to be in your career a year from now, three years, five years and 10 years down the road. Why are your career goals important to you? If you have a compelling reason for wanting something, chances are you will work hard to acquire it. The plan is to help direct your path. After you have a sense of where you want to land in your career, what is the gap between where you are now and where you’d like to be? Do not worry about changing your mind about your career goals, the plan is a guide.
Starting with your end career goal in mind, work backwards to identify the steps to take before achieving your goal, until you reach where you are today. Flip the steps so you know the first steps to take now that you are starting your career. You could even make this into a game by choosing different paths to take to get to your career destination.
Now that you know the gap that you have to bridge - from where you are, to where you want to go - it’s time to create your career management plan. What skills, knowledge and abilities do you need to acquire to achieve each career milestone? Since you are just starting your career, it’s good to work through the process with a mentor or coach to help you figure it out.
Components of a Career Management Plan
Assets: Strengths, skills, education, talent, core competencies and work experience when you acquire some.
Career Goals: Direction to take your career. That is, identify the path you will take on your career journey.
Strategy: How you plan to achieve your career goals and in what time frame.
Marketing Strategy: How you market yourself employers and prospective employers, and all the tools and resources you need to do so.
A career management plan is critical to your success because it helps you to manage your career, as well as measure how you are doing in achieving your career goals. In another blog post, we will drill down further into the components of a career management plan.