Tips for Planning a Career Path

Planning A Career Path

Times have changed. When staying with one company, one career, and retiring with a nice pension were the way to live a few decades ago, that is not the case today. One reason is that pensions and retirement plans are not what they used to be.

Another reason is that more people like change and want to pursue careers that are more fitting to their lifestyle. People realize that today, you can truly become anything you want to become. You can open your own business, have multiple part-time jobs instead of one full-time job, and you can easily and quickly get any type of education you want.

Some reports suggest people will change careers 12 or more times in their lifetime today. This may give anxiety to those who were raised to stick with one employer. But it gives excitement and hope to those who are constantly seeking something better.

The ability to change careers means you will need to create a plan for your career path. You may even plan multiple career paths, depending on how many times you seek change.

Below are some tips to get you started. Whether you are seeking promotion within a company, entrepreneurship, or a radical employment switch, these tips can help.


Assess Why You Want a Career Path

Before you can do something, you must know why it is you want to do it. You want to make sure you are not making decisions based on passing whims and that there are legitimate reasons for seeking a career.

Questions to help you determine why include:  Am I in a career now? If not, do I need a career and why? If so, is my current career satisfying? What are the pros and cons of leaving my current job? How will another career affect my family and lifestyle?

Expand on your answers and develop new questions to help you figure out why you are seeking a career.


Assess Yourself

The more you discover about yourself, the more you can determine which career path is right. If you enjoy working in a hospital, it would not be ideal for you to apply for a job in the air-conditioning and heating business.

What are your likes and dislikes? What hobbies and interests do you have? What do you do in your spare time? What transferable skills do you have? What skills do people compliment you on the most? What types of awards or recognition have you received in the past?

These are questions to get you started in identifying your strengths and weaknesses. You can apply this information when deciding which career field to enter.

Make sure you assess your needs versus your wants. You may want to work as a clerk at the local bookstore, but your expenses, debts and lifestyle may need you to be a director of a library.


Research Careers

It would not be wise to assume you will like working in a career field based on an observation you made. You may have only gotten a brief snapshot of that career, on a good day, a Friday when everyone may have just been excited about the weekend.

It’s important you research, in detail, the careers in which you are interested. Do not go by information you learn online only. Information such as salaries and job duties can vary depending on employer, geographic location, education and experience. It can also vary based on how well you can negotiate.

Instead, take what you have learned online and verify it with people already working in the industry. If you want to be a nurse, set up a meeting with a local nurse and ask a lot of questions. If you want to be an accountant, job shadow an accountant during tax season.

Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics site to gain information about trending and popular career fields. Here you can find accurate information on which careers are paying the most, which careers will be around for a while, and which ones are in high demand for workers.

Get the most information you can before making your decision. The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be.


Assess What it Will Take to Get a Career

You have already assessed yourself, your skills, likes and dislikes and more. Now it is time to determine what you need to reach the goal of a career.

Do you need a college degree? If so, what level do you need? Do you have a college degree but need more education? If so, how much? Do you need certificate training or an associate degree? Do you need higher than an associate degree?

You will also need to assess where you can obtain further education if needed.

A great step would be to visit your local college. They have advisors who can help you plan the educational journey of getting the career you desire. They can also help you enroll, either online or on-campus or both, to complete the education you need.

Local college advisors can help you obtain the education needed, in the quickest time possible, and in a format that fits your lifestyle. They can even help you discover funding resources to help you pay for your education.


Set Short and Long-Term Goals

Without goals, you have no direction. And while goals can be easily changed, it is still good to have both short and long-term when beginning your career plan. Short-term goals focus on what you want to happen in the next year or less. Long-term goals focus on what you want to happen after a year, even five or ten years into the future.

Each goal should have a sub-goal, or smaller steps mapped out to help you reach the larger goal. With each sub-goal accomplished, mark it off and feel rewarded for getting closer to the finish line.

In conclusion, if you want a career that is different from what you are doing now, you can have it. All you need is a good plan to help you get started.