Corinne Mills is the Managing Director of Personal Career Management , the leading career coaching company who are now career management partners with GAAPWeb.
As a Finance professional, analysing, target-setting and monitoring are key features of your job. Yet how many of you, apply this valuable skill-set to managing your own career. After all, your career has a major impact on your wealth, health and sense of well-being so it makes sense to use your natural planning skills to help you realise your career potential, maximise opportunities and reduce risks.
So how do you go about creating your own career action plan? This is something I do with my career coaching clients but here are some tips for how you can do this for yourself:
What do you want?
Write down what you want from your career in the future. It may be a promotion, to change role or sector, or work in a different way perhaps as an interim or reduced hours. What do you want to be different about your working life? Now translate this list of wants and needs into short and longer term career goals that will keep you focused on your priorities. Try to keep your goals specific rather than vague. For example “To become a Finance Director within the media sector within 5 years” rather than “move into a role that I enjoy”.
What do you need to do?
Instead of just waiting for the perfect opportunity to land in your lap, there are lots of things you can actively do to increase the likelihood of achieving your career goals. This will range from activities to enhance your employability such as training courses, leadership development or asking your boss for more responsibilities. It will also include making sure that you can respond quickly to opportunities as they arise because you already have an impressive CV and Linkedin profile in place. Write down everything you can think of to do which will help, breaking down bigger tasks into smaller component tasks such as uploading your CV to recruitment sites, setting up email job alerts, contacting headhunters etc.
Now try and sort your task list in order of priority and scheduling. Which tasks do you need to do first? Set yourself a realistic target date for the completion of each task and enter these into your online or paper diary as a prompt with a flag up system for any deadlines that slip. Set yourself a review date, perhaps at 3 months or 6 months to make sure that you are on-track.
Blocks and Bridges
Think about any problems or challenges you may face in achieving your goals and who or what may help you overcome them. You might find it useful to read some books and articles about career management or CVs, to find out the latest advice on job-searching techniques for example. There might be people you know who can help in giving you advice, feedback or introductions to companies you are interested in. However, if you want more specific advice for you, perhaps on either career decision-making or marketing yourself to potential employers, then a specialist career coach will be more in line with what you need.
Using your professional planning skills to create a well thought through and realistic career action plan will make it easier for you to spot opportunities and be ready to move on them quickly. In a competitive job market, this can give you a distinct advantage.
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