Check out this simple 7 step process to develop your personalized Career Development Plan!
Just the other day, I observed a couple of school students discussing about a farewell party they needed to throw and the process involved in doing so.
“Let’s look it up on Zomato and ask a couple of people for reviews” someone said, while the other one suggested a “ground visit to check if the place meets our requirement of music and décor and see if it falls in your price range”, while a third one volunteered to “negotiate and make a booking, sit down with the manager to finalize menu and then finally invite hundred other people”.
These students, I thought to myself, represent millions of children across the country, who perhaps will do everything, they can to make sure that they’ve got their party, all in order. But when it comes to making a choice that can make or break their entire future, they rely on pure hearsay, and maybe a few online reviews and advice that other people give them.
Welcome to the world of career confusion! Right from selecting the right stream to the perfect career, down to the best college and course, everything is about securing the best rather than aligning perfectly. In my experience, I’ve broadly observed two prominent trends of how students make their career choices. One, they identify their ‘interest’ and dart off in the chosen path. Two, they set of with what’s popular and what their friends are going to do. Both of these approaches raise more questions than they answer, because both of them do not take into consideration critical elements which influence career decisions, in big ways.
Scientific career planning is crucial to taking the right career decision but unfortunately is often ignored. Students often feel ill-equipped to deal with career decisions due to a lack of knowledge and expertise. Chalking out a developmental plan is a culmination of introspection, clarity, research and setting up your priorities.
Given the importance and long-term impact of having a career plan, I would highly recommend seeking professional advice. However, this simple 7 step process to develop your personalized Career Development Plan can be quite useful -:
1) Figure Out What Makes You Tick: Students majorly predict their interests with their constant experiences with their parents, teachers, friends and school life. However, knowing an interest alone is not enough. One has to understand one’s skill sets and unique traits which are essential for a perfect career development plan. Finding the match between these is the key.
2) Use Scientific Tools to Narrow Down to Your Best Fit Matches: Today, there are numerous online tools that help students understand their personality, aptitudes, key interests and suggests best suited careers for them. Such tools educate and provide unbiased decisions.
3) Do Your Research: Do as much research as possible, when it comes to career. This research gives you in-depth knowledge about the life in a career. It is important that you visualize yourself at the work place, which will entirely give you a real picture of the career which you wish to pursue. Try and learn about the career options and ways to achieve it.
4) Get Some Experience: The best way to explore any career is to “live” it. Live Projects and Internships in a chosen field, would help you to understand the career better and will help you gain relevant skills that can pave the way for a rewarding career.
5) Connect to Alumni: Your alumni can be a great source of first-hand information. Try to connect with your seniors and learn about their experiences. It is essential that you take multiple views and form your own opinion. If your confusion arises from choosing the right course, or college, this is a great step to take.
6) Talk to Professionals: Get in touch with people who are currently working in the field of your choice, and consult them. Try and get answers to all your questions regarding your career. Find a detailed outlook of the career which will help you in understanding the career better. There is nothing like first-hand experience and it will give you a true perspective of how it is to live a career.
7) Document your Plan: It is essential that you document and create a strategy to achieving your plan. This will help you take a broader view of the entire plan you have created and also reflect upon what are the missing pieces you need to fit in or work on developing. It is important to come down to the nitty-gritties and detail your plan of action. Break your path into small pieces, draw out your short term career goals, and set immediate objectives. Create a checklist of all the things you need to do – attain possible certifications, build-up your profile, get your grades up, so and so forth.
Now that you have your action plan in place, just follow it, and it should help you eliminate your career confusion. The key thing here is to keep things in perspective. Don’t get disheartened, keep doing your research till you find the perfect career for yourself. The mantra for success that all students should remember is – Do what you’re cut out for, research & plan well and make it big.
Prateek Bhargava – Founder & CEO at MINDLER (www.mindler.com)