A new year is often a time when we take stock of where we are, where we desire to be, and where we feel it’s necessary, begin to make plans for change. New Year’s resolutions can be anything from going on a diet to travelling the world, but it’s also a good time to think about your career and what you need to do to help you achieve your ambitions.
Being content in your chosen career journey is a fundamental route to happiness, so be honest with yourself. You might find a complete change is needed, or maybe you’re happy where you are but feel something needs to happen to progress up the career ladder.
That will only come with careful planning, so here are our five tips to help you decide your career goals and what’s the best pathway for you:
What do you really want in terms of career development? Take time to think in depth about where you are in your job and whether you are truly satisfied. Be realistic, but don’t hold back doing whatever you think is reasonable to get you to where you want to be. See if you can set some goals for personal development or training that could help you achieve more in your current job, or in preparation for the next.
Make a list. Think about the skills, qualifications and experience you already have. What are you good at, what don’t you like doing or what could you improve on? What are the good and bad points about your work environment? What effects could a career change have on your lifestyle; salary, work-life balance etc? Take all these into consideration so that you can determine whether you need to possibly work on additional skills to achieve your career goals for the year.
Your career goals need to align with the skills and qualifications you want to improve or obtain. Think about whether you’ll be able to achieve skills growth in your current job. Are you happy doing what you do now or would you like a change? If you want a radical change, will it mean reduced salary because you’re starting again at the bottom of the ladder? What transferable skills do you have? If you’re happy in your current role, is there an option to progress? What would that involve: training, more hours, less time with the family?
Whatever you decide to do, it’s not going to happen overnight. If it’s about looking for a new role, start to check out the jobs market. Talk to a recruitment consultant and weigh up your options. If it’s about career growth, who should you talk to: your line manager, the HR department, head office? Would some training, through your employer or privately, help? Are there volunteering or additional duties you can take on to gain more experience? What skills should you focus on to prepare you for another role?
While you’re focusing on short-term goals, have a vision for what the next step might be. Draw up a realistic roadmap for your career and how you are going to reach each stage on it. Keep your plan straightforward and realistic, if it’s not achievable, you will find it hard to stick to it. Things won’t necessarily happen overnight but if you have a new career path that is clear and achievable, you’re on your way to the next step.
If you find any of this process difficult, it is worth speaking to a recruitment expert. They can advise on what opportunities are available in the area you want to work, both geographically and in terms of sector.
Their suggestions will be based on a clear assessment of your age, experience, skills and interests and provide a basis for your plans to get onto that path to career progress.
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