Career planning is the difference between taking control of your journey or letting it simply happen to you. Of course, things don’t always go as planned and careers are no different. But that’s why your career planning needs to be questioned from time to time. As you evolve, so will your goals. Therefore, it’s important to keep re-evaluating what you want out of your professional life and adjust your career planning accordingly.
Here are five questions you need to continually ask yourself as you navigate your career:
1. What is essential to me as I go through my career?
With any type of goal setting, it’s important that your goal be specific. While you may have an idea of what you want to achieve professionally, you want to be sure that it is easy for you to articulate. Keep in mind that professional goals are not limited to achieving a certain salary or job title. Things such as work-life balance or finding work with purpose are equally, if not more important to consider.
2. How does my current path ensure I will achieve my goal?
Once you’ve gotten specific about the goals you want to achieve, start evaluating your current situation. Confirm that it supports your goals or at least serves as a stepping stone to achieving them. Maybe you’re learning essential skills or perhaps you’re getting the industry experience you need to move on. Whatever the case may be, be sure you don’t get so comfortable with the status quo that you stop pushing yourself forward.
3. What’s the next step I need to take to progress?
Now that you’ve taken stock of your current situation, you can figure out what it is you need to do to move forward. Your next move may be working on positioning yourself for a promotion or making an industry transition. Whatever your next step is, make it something specific and set a timeframe in which you hope to have reached your next step.
4. Are there any critical changes I need to make?
In order to get to your next step, or to obtain your ideal work situation, certain things may need to change. It’s possible you will need to learn a new skill and look into taking a course. Other types of changes may include things like the office environment you work in, or even eliminating your long commute. Whatever it is, don’t avoid making the change you need. Focus on one critical change at a time and you’ll be amazed at how much closer you are to your goal.
5. Have I made the correct adjustments to my plan?
Nothing is static. Particles in motion stay in motion and your career goals and needs are not out of bounds. As you evolve as an individual, so will your professional goals. The goals you had as a first-time job seeker are likely to change several times as your career develops. That’s why it’s so important to periodically ask yourself these questions. But the most important part of your career planning comes down to what you do with the answers. It’s all in the way you follow through.
As you navigate through your career, keep these five questions in mind to keep you at your career planning best.