Proper planning, thorough research and setting short, medium and long term career goals is key to achieving success in your field. Beyond gaining qualifications, there are a wide range of other factors you should consider when planning the stages of your career.
Matching your personality to your targeted role/s and employer/s is the next step. As well as aligning your skill sets, talk to people who are already in a role you aspire to and see if they have similar personality traits.
“In many professions you are likely to find yourself working long hours – you could and should have a social circle at work; it is hugely important that the fit is as close as possible,” Lance Maree, Director at Robert Walters South Africa continued.
“Find out about other employees’ backgrounds – are they similar to yours? What is that organisation’s employment history; where are previous employees now and what are they doing?”
“We talk about personality fit and chemistry at all levels because, for most jobs, we find relevant skill sets on multiple CVs. Finding the right personal match is where the true value comes.”
Gain good advice
It is important to ask others about your strengths and weaknesses – seek opinions from your boss, colleagues, clients, recruitment consultants or friends and family.
“I would encourage people to think about their careers before coming to talk to us. Knowing what you want to achieve puts us in the best position to be able to help you achieve it,” said Lance.
“Ideally, you would know what you will be doing in ten years’ time. Then you can work back and get an indication of where you will be in five, then three and two years.”
“Frequently moving jobs is becoming increasingly common for professionals and your first role can play a big role in determining what you do next.”
If you cannot visualise where you will be in ten years, try some different roles, see where those jobs might take you and that should help you decide.
It is important to keep your plan flexible, especially in the early stages of your career which is often very fluid. After five to ten years, people have more tendency to stay in the same sector or role.
It is therefore important to gain as much varied experience as possible in the early years, to ensure you find the route most suitable to you, then to plan to ensure you spend the later stages of your career working in your preferred areas.
Even the best plans may need to be revised as circumstances change. Your career plan has to be a work in progress, and you should revisit it regularly.
For example, do not be afraid of a sideways move to reinvigorate your career if you reach a plateau or cul-de-sac.
Managing your career can be a big challenge and there are sure to be obstacles and surprises along the way. However, a good plan will help you be ready for these.
lance Maree added, “gaining qualifications and developing a broad range of skills will help you to remain adaptable in your career. For some professionals, this can even allow them to shift into a new role or industry midway through their career.”
“Your priorities can change and having the skills and experience to adapt is essential.”