Tips For Creating A Career Development Plan

Summer conjures up long warm days, vacations, and in many cases, lighter workloads. It also happens to be an ideal time to revisit your career goals. This is imperative to do whether you’re looking to advance within your current company, or you’re searching for a new opportunity. Follow these tips to insure that you’re positioned for continued success.

Create A Blueprint

Advancing your career is like anything else—it takes a solid plan and follow through. As Warren Buffet once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Those who end up in positions that others envy have created a strategic career development plan. They’ve set goals and laid out a timeline in which to achieve them. Equally important, they’re not so rigid in what they want to exclude what might come along. By being open, you allow yourself the opportunity to discover new and, often times, brighter horizons.

Always Be Learning

From time to time we all get complacent and become satisfied with where we’re at in our careers. The key to combating stagnation is to keep growing. Whether it’s within your field or outside of it, use your talents to stretch your experiences. Challenge yourself to take on new roles or new endeavors that will add value to your employer. By strengthening your credentials and improving your skill set, your career opportunities will continue to grow.

Never Stop Networking

The more coworkers you know and the more contemporaries in your field you’re connected with, the more opportunities you’ll have. This is obvious in theory, but many people don’t make the effort to network. Set aside a certain amount of time every month to connect with others via business mixers, charity events, hobbies, or a religious affiliation. When the career winds of change blow, you’ll be happy you did. Your network will be infinitely stronger if it includes at least one mentor. Having a professional in your field that you respect and want to emulate can help you through work challenges, point out pitfalls to avoid, and make introductions to important contacts.

Make Wise Choices

Working with a recruitment company can lead you to opportunities you wouldn’t be able to find on your own. They often have crucial information on a company’s personnel and work culture that can help place you in an environment that best suits your skillset and personality. Even if you’re not currently looking to leave your job, it’s always advantageous to keep up-to-date on new employment opportunities and make salary comparisons.

Don’t make the mistake of taking a passive role in your professional development. In life, when you don’t make a plan, someone else makes one for you.