Creating a Career Plan

Creating a career plan

Why now is the perfect time to develop a plan!

By Sophie Whitfield

Having a career plan is something we all aspire to have, but maybe not necessarily know how to do or have the time to do. Throughout our schooling lives we are constantly asked what we want to do as a career, and we are expected to have an answer. But what if we don’t?

I didn’t – I still remember the confused faces every time I said, ‘I’m not sure yet’.

It’s easy to feel like you should know or feel like you’re doing something wrong when you have friends have mapped out their whole lives – from their university degrees, to their dream job in a country you’ve never even heard of.

The current statistics show that people are likely to change their career six to eight times over the course of their working lives.  

Why is career planning important?

Career planning is important in helping us manage the direction of our careers and the professional goals we are wanting to achieve.

This includes understanding the skills and knowledge we need to acquire in order to make the next step.

The SOAR Model

The SOAR model developed by Arti Kumar is a framework specifically developed to support career decision making. SOAR stands for strengths/self, opportunities, aspirations, and results.

Strengths/self encompasses the holistic understanding of motivations, values, personality, and interests.

With opportunities specifically relating to understanding a range of experiences which will enable you to develop the skills and capabilities required for professional success.

Aspirations is all about making informed choices and developing relevant skills professionally and finally, results are all about developing networks, experience and creating opportunities.

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one which will help you grow” – Caroline Myss

Is it too late to plan my career?

Short answer – definitely not!

It doesn’t matter what point you are in your career.

Whether you are just about to finish school, finishing your university degree, have been made redundant because of COVID-19 or have been in the same job for the last twenty years – it’s never too late to plan where you want to go and take the steps to make a change.

Why now is the perfect time to start career planning

Now is the perfect time to develop a career plan which encompasses everything you want to achieve professionally.

It may be setting goals such as achieving that promotion or wanting to become more skilled in another area of your workplace.

Before COVID-19 your career pathway may have already been set out and you didn’t know how to pivot into something different or was it too big of a risk to take then?

COVID-19 is causing the world to change every single day, making now the perfect time to reset and regroup.

A career plan can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.

Developing a career plan

When it comes to developing a career plan here are some resources and tools to get you started.

  • Identify your values and what is most important in your life.
  • Utilise VIA Institute on Character which is  a free survey on identifying character strengths.
  • Job Outlook Career Quiz is an Australian Government developed tool designed specifically to explore careers you might want to do.

Structuring your career plan

  • What are your passions, interests, skills and strengths?
  • If you had to picture your perfect work environment – what would it look like?
  • If money wasn’t a factor – what would you be doing?
  • What skills, qualifications, education or knowledge do you need?
  • What are the pros and cons of the career pathways you are wanting to explore?
  • Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timebound/trackable).

Hopefully, this provides some assistance in either thinking about or developing a career plan. As always, happy hunting!

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