You Need A Career Strategy
So what exactly is Career Strategy? It’s just a fancy jargon for Career Plan! Do you have a career plan? Do you know what you want and where do you want to be in the next 5 years or 10 years or 20 years? Many a times, we choose a career path which is not right for us. We spend years doing something at which we may be good at but it doesn’t interest us or doesn’t inspire us. Or we may spend time doing something we don’t want to do and we aren’t good at it but we still do it as it is a “safe” option. Or maybe we do it because our parents want us to pursue it or our friends are pursuing it. But it is YOUR career! Instead of changing your career path, START with a STRATEGY so that you always have the privilege to pursue whatever it is that you’re ‘destined’ to.
So how do you come up with a strategy for your career?
It’s Simple! It’s simple but it’s not easy.
In order to create an effective strategy for your dream career, you need to be able to answer the following questions:
- What is your current situation?
Before you can think of a long term career plan, it is important that you know where you stand currently. A realistic view of your current situation will determine the course of your strategy. For Example, are you a student pursuing MBA? Are you a working professional who wants to advance in their career and are looking for options? Know exactly what the current situation is and the number of available options for you.
- What is your passion?
A general rule of thumb is that if you’re passionate about something you will not only be good at it but also enjoy what you’re doing. You’re less likely to abandon a career for which you’re passionate about and care for. You may want to pursue a career in HR but if you aren’t passionate about interacting with people or understanding their issues, then it may not be a right choice.
- What is your interest?
Interest and Passion are two different things which are often used interchangeably. An interest can fade away with time but something that you’re passionate about will stay with you for life. But it is important to know what your interests are as, if you don’t have a passion you need to assess if you can turn your interests into your passion.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
By knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are you can analyse what areas you need to work on and which areas you can develop further. Your strengths comprises of your skill set and competencies which needs to be reflected in the job or career that you intend to look for. This includes assessing your skills, competencies, talent, abilities, education, formal training and experience. Your weaknesses are reflected in the skills which you’re inadequate at but would be required for the kind of job you want. For example, if you’re interested in marketing or sales but are not very good at persuasion skills, it becomes your weakness which you need to focus on
- Incorporate Feedback
Pay close attention to the feedback you receive from your peers and superiors. Many times we are not the best judge of our capabilities as much as others are for us. So take into account what others think of your skills and abilities to form a well-informed opinion on your career path. Seek guidance, feedforward is as important as feedback. So ask your mentors, role models, family and friends to guide you to your potential. Receiving feedback and feedforward is not only limited to workplace but also in education settings. If you’re a student with no experience, you can opt for feedback from your teachers and mentors. You can also seek feedback and information from professionals working in the field that you’re interested in.
- What is your personality like?
This is a very important aspect when you are considering a career. Certain careers bode well with certain kind of personality. For example, an introverted individual may not be as good as an extroverted individual at a marketing job. So take plenty of assessments to know what is your personality type. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you creative or analytical? Do you enjoy a desk job or do you like to be on the move? Based on these answers you can look for jobs that match your personality.
- What is Success for you?
You need to know how is it that you define success. Do you relate success to wealth? Or do you relate success to fame? Or do you relate success to happiness? Or do you relate success to control? Define success and you’ll be half way there to achieve it.
- What is your desired job?
Lastly, define your dream job. Write down all the characteristics you wish that your dream job has. From the kind of work you wish to do to the type of boss you would want to work for. This will enable you to identify any opportunities that present this ideal job easily.
Considering all these questions, not in isolation but as a whole will help you be more self-aware and to make an informed decision. Once all these questions are answered and taken into consideration you’re then ready to make a strategized plan. You’ll have a clear picture of where you are currently and what steps you need to take to reach where you want to be.
Before starting any career, may it be an MBA or any other professional courses, see if it aligns with your personal goals. Life is too short to spend your life doing things that don’t entice you.
Be self-aware, plan, and succeed.
About the Author:
Nidhi Malkan has studied psychology for 7 years with a specialisation in Industrial Psychology. She has conducted various training programs on Soft Skills andGrooming for students across all streams. She is currently working as a Product Manager – Content Strategist at InsideIIM.com. When she’s not working she is reading.