December 17th, 2008
10 Most Important Career Planning Tips

1. Never Stop Learning

Life-long learning is your keyword.

The world is constantly changing, and everybody is looking for new ways of doing business.

If you have decided that your current skills are good enough, you have also decided that your current job is good enough.

But if you want a career in the future, you should add regular updates to your skills and knowledge.

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2. Ask, Listen and Learn

A good listener can learn a lot.

Listen to your co-workers, your boss, and your superiors. You can learn a lot from their experience.

Ask about issues that interest you, and listen to what they say. Let them tell you about how things work, and what you could have done better.

Most people will love to be your free tutor.

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3. Execute Your Current Job Role well

Your current job might be best place to start your career.

It is often very little that separates successful people from the average. But nothing comes free.

If you do your job well and fulfil your responsibilities, this is often the best way to start a new career.

Talk to your supervisor about things you can do. Suggest improvements. Offer your help when help is needed. In return ask for help to build a better career. It is often possible – right inside your own organization – especially if you have proved to be a valued employee.

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4. Build Your Network

Your next career step might arise from your contact network.

Did you know that more than 50% of all jobs are obtained from contact networks? If you have a good contact network, it is also a good place to discover future careers, to explore new trends, and to learn about new opportunities.

Spend some time building new contacts, and don’t forget to maintain the ones you already have.

One of the best ways to get serious information from your network is to regularly ask your contacts how they are, what they do, and what is new about their careers.

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5. Identify Your Current Job

Your current job should be identified, not assumed.

Make sure you don’t work with tasks you assume are important. This is waste of time and talent.

When you start in a new job, talk to your superior about your priorities. If you’re not sure about what is most important, then ask him. And ask him again. Often you will be surprised about the differences between what you assume, and what is really important.

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6. Identify Your Next Job

Your dream job must be identified.

Before you start planning your future career, be sure you have identified your dream job.

In your dream job, you will be doing all the things you enjoy, and none of the things you don’t enjoy. What kind of job would that be?

Do you like or dislike having responsibility for other employees. Do you like to work with technology or with people? Do you want to run your own business? Do you want to be an artist, a designer or a skilled engineer, people manager or own your own business?

Before building your future career your goal must be identified.

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7. Prepare Yourself

Your dream might show up tomorrow. Be prepared.

Don’t wait a second. Update your CV now, and continue to update it regularly.

Tomorrow your dream job may show up right before your nose. Prepare for it with a professional CV and be ready to describe yourself as a valuable object to anyone that will try to recruit you.

If you don’t know how to write a CV, or how to describe yourself, start learning it now. Go through the posts on this blog on ‘All about jobs’ and the free CV templates to come up with an effective CV of your own.

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8. Pick the Right Tools

Pick the tools you can handle.

You can build your future career using a lot of different tools. Studying at school is easy. Taking a full master degree, Post Graduate degree, Doctorate, MBA is more complicated.

You can add a lot to your career by doing courses, reading books and attending tutorials. Doing short time courses with certification tests might add valuable weight to your CV. And don’t forget: Your current job is often the most valuable source of building new skills.

Don’t pick a tool that is too heavy for you to handle!  

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9. Realise Your Dreams

Put your dreams into action.

Don’t let a busy job kill your dreams. If you have higher goals, put them into action now.

If you have plans about taking more education, getting a better job, starting your own company or something else, you should not use your daily job as a “waiting station”. Your daily job will get busier, you will be caught up in the rat race, and you will burn up your energy.

If you have this energy, you should use it now, to realise your dreams.

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10. Stay Positive

Yes, life can be difficult and cruel and unfair, but every time you’re about to start whining, consider how fortunate you really are and what you DO have. Show me the person who complains about not having Nike trainers or designer shoes and I’ll show you the person with no feet!

Every day above ground really is a good day. So stop feeling sorry for yourself, and take one step forward. Then, take another, and another.

What are some qualities you have that you like about yourself? Are you funny? Are you intelligent? Are you sincere? Are you generous? What do you have pride in? Try focusing on the positive things in your life. You may be making huge influences to others even when you think you’re useless.

When you find yourself in a bad mood, think about the ones that you know love you, look on your greater side. Realise that nobody’s life is easy and that there will always be ups and downs, and moments of low self esteem. Don’t automatically assume that nobody cares. Every person matters to someone. You’re alive for a reason. Look in the mirror. Find some beautiful things about yourself. When you can’t change something, change your attitude towards it!

 

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping you to explore your career at any stage.

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