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Wednesday, April 03, 2002

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Effective Career Planning: Taking responsibility for your Career

Long gone are the days of lifetime employment . Today there is a need to be alert and plan careers and a shift from one organisation to another in order to gain maximum industry experience while keeping in touch with emergent technology seems to be the norm. Career Planning is like posting coloured flags in our course of life as milestones to be crossed to achieve a set goal. It is an arduous task and needs systematic planning and calculated execution.

Goal Setting

There are various kinds of goals a person sets for himself throughout this working life. These goals may vary in degree according to his work experience, priorities and expectations in life. One can set knowledge based goals or hierarchical goals, like for example wanting to master the field of human resources in two years would be domain knowledge driven while wanting to head a HR department by 5 years a hierarchical one. Once the goal has been identified, one sits down and matches the recognised objectives with the actual realities of the world. This will determine the feasibility of achieving it.

Plan of Action!

After this you have to sit down and charter the course that needs to be tread in order to realise the objectives. This is the stage wherein one actually assigns the various tasks and jobs to be effectively executed in order to reach one's objective. In the case of career planning you have to recognise the industries and specific target companies you want to get into. The plan has to be so detailed that you should determine the number of years you are going to work in each company to achieve maximum success.


Keep eyes and ears open always, and be alert to what is going on in your industry. Get to know who the players are, who are hiring and who are firing. Familiarise yourself with the emerging trends, working concepts and slowly master them.


Talk to the professionals who work in your field and network extensively. Today's contact can be a potential employer in search of your skill sets. Memberships in various professional organisations pertaining to your field will give you instant access to high-ranking professionals in the field.

Opportunity Fairy!

Opportunity knocks but once! See how you can convert every opportunity to suit your purpose. If there is a requirement in your particular field then make sure you are ready and equipped to fulfil it.

A successful professional is also an opportunist who examines every opening critically and how he can turn to his advantage. Expiry Date The important factor is that each goal should have a time frame. Without a time frame a goal dilutes in to a wish and then diminishes into a distant dream!

Stock taking

Once a year the individual should relook at the direction of his career and in the event of derailment anywhere, should assess the damage and get back on the right track. If goals become obsolete, do not hesitate to throw them out and formulate new ones.

It is important to remember that priorities changeover time and we should have an open mind toward objectives. While learning might have seemed the primary objective during a professional's younger years, leadership, status, power might take precedence at a later stage.


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