A career shouldn’t be something that just happens to you, it should be something that is carefully planned and then managed. Many of us graduate school or complete our military obligations with the goal of finding a job. While this goal can be absolutely appropriate, we should qualify this goal by seeking the right job. There are therefore important questions you should ask yourself before you begin the process.
- Is there something I am passionate about that would work as a career choice?
- Is my experience and education appropriate for this choice?
- If not, how can I fix that?
- Can I start as an intern or as a trainee while I’m beefing up my credentials?
- Should I begin as something more appropriate to my resume as I prepare for a transition at a later time?
- Was my career choice unrealistic?
Thomas Edison was said, “if you choose a field that you enjoy as if it were your favorite hobby, you will be very successful.” This quote makes total sense, because putting in the work to both excel and grow will be a labor of love. Wouldn’t it be great to wake up on Monday morning excited to get back to work!
Then, after making your career decisions and then landing your first job, there are additional questions that need to be answered.
- What career goals should I set for myself?
- What should be the timeline for achieving these goals?
- What needs to be done to increase my chances for success?
- In what type of corporate culture would I be most motivated?
- Can I reach my goals with the Company I have joined?
- If not, what Companies should I research and then target as my next job.
Some of these questions could have been considered before seeking your first job and some answers will take some time to become part of your plan. What is important is that you are taking a proactive role in the direction and success of your career.
Remember that goals should always be measurable! Meeting these goals may require additional skills and possibly developing contacts beyond your workplace. Taking courses relevant to your field and joining professional organizations will not only demonstrate to your present employer that you seek to become more valuable as an employee, you will also begin to expand your contact base and industry knowledge.
It has been said, that a career is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Sometimes it requires patience and sometimes it may require risk taking. The most important thing to remember is that it always requires a plan. Most if not all careers will have inflection points that can require very difficult decisions. In my next article I will discuss some of potential inflection points and provide advice. For additional support, I recommend you logging into yourcareerplace.com where there are articles, blogs and archived webinars that will help.