By: Bridget C Lewis ©2013
What is career management? According to Career Vision “career management is the lifelong process of investing resources to achieve your career goals”. But what exactly does that mean? Too often as individuals we look to our employer to invest money and time into our professional development. Don’t get me wrong, many individuals have found success with this strategy. However, there are many others whose employers do not have the budget allocated for professional development of employees. If you fall in this category, what then are your options? Individuals who see the value of self-development and being in control of their own career growth will quickly realize this is an investment they cannot afford to de-prioritize. Besides, companies are pulling back on professional development and tuition reimbursement benefits as a cost cutting measure to better manage their bottom-line.
So where do you begin? Begin by identifying your career goals. What do you want to be when you grow up? What does career success mean to you? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 25 years? What actions do you need to take to achieve these goals and realize success? If you haven’t thought this through, there’s no time like the present to get started. And if you’ve only thought about it but not really outlined it or written it down, get some paper and a pencil or pen and get to planning. It only becomes real when you write it down. Self-help guru Tony Robbins has coined the popular phrase:
“If it is not written, then it is not real”.
Dan Moran wrote an article titled “What exactly is a career management plan…” In this article, Moran likens career planning to financial planning. His proposal outlines the assets, liabilities, goals and strategy of career management.
Your career assets include your knowledge, skills, abilities, experience, expertise, strengths, qualifications, certifications, and values. These are the things you bring to the table. These are the value-add you have to offer.
Your career liabilities include your professional development needs, the effects of the economy, threats to your industry, and threats of unemployment or under-employment. You need to have a plan for converting these liabilities into assets. Knowing what your liabilities are positions you to better outline an improvement plan.
Your career goals should blend with your other personal goals. For example, how does or will your career impact your family life? How much will you be able to save towards your retirement? What vocational calling is your career helping you fulfill? Is a vocation important to you? What are your expectations for promotions and increased responsibilities on the job? Do you have dreams of one day owning your own business? What do you need to do to make sure you can bring that dream to reality? These are just some of the questions you need to consider as you think about your goals. Also in outlining your goals you will want to outline short-term and long-term goals… what are you able to do right now, and what will you need to more time to accomplish. Don’t forget to add a due date or deadline. Without a due date you will always find yourself putting things off and never get to the point of accomplishing your goals.
Finally your strategy outlines how you will go about working your plan. What is your timeline? What learning strategies will you apply? Will you need a college degree? Or will you need to pursue a Masters or Doctorate? What additional professional development strategies will you need? Who will pay for your degree or professional development? Will you need a mentor? What type of support systems to you need to put in place? How will your family and loved ones factor into your plans? What books do you need to add to your personal library?
Moran also outlines 7 elements for your career development plan.
- Inventory of Assets, Skills and Core Competencies
- Defined and measurable career goals & metrics
- Identification of career direction & opportunities
- Current & projected career market analysis
- Compensation plan
- Strategic career management plan
- Marketing strategy: Branding, networks, resources, tools
Your future is in your hands. Don’t wait for your employer to tell you how and when you should be developed. It their plans don’t mesh with your goals, the benefits to you are left up to chance. Know who you are and what you want, and know how to get it done.
Start planning… (Managing Your Career Worksheet)