Planning Your Career: 5 tips to help you set your goals

If you’re thinking about the future and where you see yourself working then this is the blog for you! Here are my top career planning tips, to help you choose your future goals.

For a lucky few career planning has never been a big issue – their dream career has come easily to them and they’ve gone from strength to strength without having to really think about it.

However, for most of us it feels like an uphill struggle keeping on track with our career goals. Whether you’ve had a change of heart about your chosen career path, personal life plans have changed or you’re lucky enough to have exciting new opportunities on the horizon, it can be a challenge to plan ahead and answer the oft asked question:

“Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?”

Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career hopefully the tips I’ve put together below will help get you on track and put some perspective on your goals.

1. Start by taking a look at your CV

Perhaps you’re at the very beginning of your career with just a few work experience placements or jobs that helped you through college. Or maybe you’re revaluating your career mid-life and have almost too much experience to squeeze in. Well, here’s the place to start – have a read of our CV writing tips.
As you take a look at your CV you’ll start picking out the work experiences that you enjoyed and the areas that you aren’t keen on repeating! By reassessing your CV you’ll be instinctively choosing some highlights that can start to be brought forward for your future plan.
For example, did you once manage a project and loved the team work, delegation, management and organisational responsibilities? Then perhaps you’ll want to look for a dedicated project manager role in future.

Consider what skills you would need to develop to help turn that one-off or occasional experience into a profession.

2. Look for opportunities within your current workplace

If you’re looking for a meaningful career trajectory it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move organisation. A company that offers support for career progression will be eager to help you achieve your goals – especially if you’re a valued member of their team.

Consider alternative departments, job roles that may appear in the future and weigh up the current employee benefits you’re already receiving. At the same time, look outside of your organisation to find a point of comparison: are there more exciting opportunities elsewhere? Do they value their employees too? Can you tell if there’s a culture of empowering career progression?

Your first port of call in this instance should be the HR department or your manager, both of whom should be able to point you in the right direction.

3. Know who your mentors are

Whatever stage you’re at in your career it’s essential to have professional allies and mentors to support your career choices and guide you in the right direction. Don’t automatically assume that your mentors will also be your boss, they may be colleagues within your team who you affiliate well with or they may be a tutor from a professional course.

Speak to them and bounce ideas back and forth on where you see your career going. Someone with an outsider’s perspective may be able to imagine you in a job role you had never previously considered!

4. Keep your professional development moving

CPD – continuing professional development – is often a feature of the majority of Chartered Institutes, such as the CIPD or CIM. With different tools to help you track your progression it empowers you to take control of your career path.

Monitor the hours you spend on professional development. That can be anything from reading a trade magazine, following a relevant blog or investing in a diploma, professional certificate or other qualification.

Before you enrol on a course, however, try to envisage where you see the course taking you. What is the objective of taking that particular course? Fit these objectives into your career plan and you’ll start to see things coming together!

5. Don’t be afraid of moving on

After mentioning the importance of assessing your current workplace for progression, at the same time be honest with yourself if you don’t see yourself being there for the long term.

If the organisation doesn’t invest in the training and development of its staff, if you can see clear limitations to your progression or there are simply must-not-miss opportunities elsewhere, perhaps it’s time you schedule a move into your career plan.

That doesn’t mean the change has to be immediate but make sure you plan a time to start looking at new opportunities. Give yourself a time frame of when you will start looking and then get in touch with a recruitment agency that will listen to your objectives and who will help you find the next step on your career ladder.

About the Author

Emma Plummer

Emma Plummer

Recruitment Partner

Emma blogs for the ACR jobseekers’ blog covering tips on how to stand out, managing the job-hunting process and more.