During the years I have been coaching young and seasoned professionals, I have had the privilege to work with many talented and ambitious individuals, contributing to advancing their career and helping them succeed in the workplace.
However, a common theme I have been systematically coming across is the lack of being intentional with their careers.
Let me tell you what I mean.
Most were great at their work: they were bringing results, they were great people to work with, they had an amazing spirit. However, when it was time to make a career move, they threw in the weight of their past performance, expecting (and hoping) to impress recruiters. The problem with this approach, though, is that it was slow and it resulted in lateral career movements or small advancements rather than career jumps. They weren’t deciding where they wanted to go (although it seems they did); their past experience, and the recruiter’s perception of that experience, was making that decision for them.
And how could it be otherwise?
Building a Career Development Plan will help you be in control of your career. You decide where you want to go and craft your way, instead of letting your future be an extension of your past.
To start being intentional with your career, you need to:
- Define where you want to go, what specific role of job title you want to assume.
- Figure out the needs of that role. What are the requirements and responsibilities for pursuing and succeeding in this role?
- Take stock of where you are and compare your experiences and skills with the ones required for your aspired role.
- Prioritize the most important requirements (skills, experiences, mindsets, network, etc).
- Write a specific plan to leverage the ones you already have and to acquire the ones missing.
- Put your plan in action.
To make this work, though, you must be focused and committed, as it takes time and effort to yield results. That is why you must start before you need to make your career move. But once you have put it in motion, you have turned the tables around: instead of letting your career be defined by your past or the circumstances of your current job, you intentionally craft your own path.