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5 Keys to a Strong Career Plan

Learn by Doing

Any entrepreneur (and any expert on cognition / learning) will tell you that practical knowledge is best developed by doing, not just thinking or planning.

For careers, too, you don’t know what the best plan is until you try. 

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5 Keys to a Strong Career Plan

5 Keys to a Strong Career Plan

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20121029193553-1213-5-keys-to-a-strong-career-plan

linkedin.com

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Key Ideas

Leverage Your Competitive Advantage

Career plans should leverage your assets, set you in direction of your aspirations, and account for the market realities.

  • Articulate educated hypotheses about each. “I believe I am skilled at X, I believe I want to do Y, I believe the market needs Z.” 
  • These hypotheses should lead you to specific actions even though you may have broad aspirations, like “help interesting people do interesting things” or “design human ecosystems.” 

Prioritize Learning

A person with a foundation of knowledge and skills will make more money and most likely live a more meaningful life.
There’s a similar belief in start-ups: technology companies focus on learning over profitability in the early years to maximize revenue in the later years.

Prioritize plans that offer the best chance at learning about yourself and the world. Ask yourself, “Which plan offers the most learning potential?”

Learn by Doing

Any entrepreneur (and any expert on cognition / learning) will tell you that practical knowledge is best developed by doing, not just thinking or planning.

For careers, too, you don’t know what the best plan is until you try. 

Make Reversible, Small Bets

Occasional missteps are to be expected when you take an experimental approach to career planning. 

These errors needn’t be permanent. Good Plan A’s can be stopped or reversed or morphed into a Plan B. A good Plan A minimizes the cost of failure. 

Start with a trial period. Keep your day job.

Think Two Steps Ahead

If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find a predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification.

At the same time, though, don’t do the opposite and think ahead too far in the future. You will change, the world will change, the competition will change.

The best thing to do is to think and plan two steps ahead. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Knowing Yourself
 Knowing Yourself

Begin by thinking about where you are now, where you want to be and how you're going to get there.

Work on getting to know your skills, interests and values.

Ask yourself:&nbs...

Finding Out

Explore jobs that interest you and ask yourself how do my skills and interests match up with these jobs?

  • Where are the gaps?
  • What options do I have to gain these skills or qualify for these jobs?
  • What skills do I need?
  • Where is the work?

You will now have a list of preferred jobs and/or learning options.

Making Decisions

Ask yourself:

  • What are my best work/training options?
  • How do they match with my skills, interests and values?
  • How do they fit with the current jobs market? How do they fit with my current situation and responsibilities?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What will help and what will hinder me?What can I do about it?

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Mind Mapping

Mind maps are the best way to visually and textually organize your ideas, projects, thoughts, and tasks in a way that gives you a structure and sensibly links related concepts.

  • Mind m...
Pillars in the Career Master Plan
  • Current job or role: This is what you are doing right now.
  • Career Goals and Dreams: List your short-term (6-9 months) and longer-term (1-3 years) career goals and dreams.
  • Your Big Why: Know why you want to do the work. 
  • Core Values: What are your top 3-5 core values that you are not willing to compromise?
  • Limits and Boundaries: What is it that you are not willing to do? Whom do you not want to work with?
  • Top Strengths: A strength is a combination of your talents and skills.
  • Desired Strengths: These are the gaps you want to fill in your skills and talents. 
  • Education investment in Yourself: Are you going to conferences, joining a master-mind group, or hiring a coach?
  • Execution Strategies: For instance, you may start a business, a side-hustle, a website.
  • Role Models
  • Ideal Client or Company: It is critical to know whom you want to serve with your work.
  • Ideal Professional Self: A 25-word exercise where you describe your ideal professional self. 
Self-Assessment

Carefully evaluate your individual strengths, lifestyle preferences, passions, work style, and financial needs.

Know both who you are as a person and who you desire to b...

Research
  • Brainstorm possible job options and investigate them thoroughly. 
  • Learn about the descriptions and qualifications for various positions, typical entry points and advancement opportunities, satisfactions, frustrations, and other important facts.
  • Speak with as many people as possible that are involved in work that is of interest to you to get an insider’s perspective.
Experimentation

Internships and part-time jobs are an excellent way to sample a field of interest. 

They provide the opportunity to perform some of the job functions, observe others work, and evaluate the “real world” workplace environment.

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Uncertainty of Social Security and Pension Benefits
  • The aging population is causing fewer contributors.
  • More people are retiring due to increased longevity.
  • Corporate col...
Unforeseen Medical Expenses

Old age typically brings medical problems and increased healthcare expenses.

Living out your retirement years in comfort while also covering your medical expenses may turn out to be a burden too large to bear.

Estate Planning

Without a well-planned retirement nest egg, you may be forced to liquidate your assets in order to cover your expenses during your retirement years.

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Creating your career

Most people never make a conscious decision about their careers and end up at a certain place, due to external factors and present opportunities. Their career path wasn't carved out or planned.

...
You Decide who you become

Here are Five Steps that can create your career:

1. Analyzing yourself.

2. Identify your industry

3. Improve your basic, universal skills

4. Start from Scratch

5. Continuous Self-Development

Self-analysis

When you analyze yourself, instead of pondering over what you are not good at, find out your strengths and sharpen them, turning a good skill into excellence.

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Make planning a habit
Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.
Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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The Real Career Landscape
The Real Career Landscape
If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using outdated convention...
The career pitfall
Careers used to be kind of like a 40-year tunnel. You picked your tunnel, and once you were in, that was that. You worked in that profession for 40 years or so before the tunnel spit you out on the other side into your retirement.

Today’s career landscape isn’t a lineup of tunnels, it’s a massive, impossibly complex, rapidly changing science laboratory. 

Why Career-path-carving is important.

Time. A typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time.

Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all your non-career hours.

Impact. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it.

Identity. We tell people about our careers by telling them what we are.

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Financial planning

 ...is the process which provides you a framework for achieving your life goals in a systematic and planned way by avoiding shocks and surprises.

Try making a budget
  • Create a full inventory of expenses in front of you: Categorize them into fixed and variable; urgent and non-urgent; necessities and luxury; avoidable and unavoidable.
  • You can create a hierarchy of needs and decide which one’s to address first. It’s all about prioritizing. 
  • Accept that you have limited resources and unlimited wants. But you have to manage your resources. The sooner you accept this fact, the better you can control your impulses towards avoidable expenditures.
Maintain a personal balance sheet

It’s a statement wherein you can jot down your assets and liabilities.

  • Pull together your bank statements and other proofs of the liabilities
  • List down your assets like the bank balance, all investments, home value, and value of other assets.
  • Take a sum of all the assets to arrive at the total value of your assets.
  • List down your liabilities the (car loan, home loan, credit card balances etc.)
  • The sum of all the liabilities will show the value of the money you owe.
  • When you subtract the value of liabilities from assets, you get your Net Worth.

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Where you see yourself in 5 years
Where you see yourself in 5 years

A regular job-interviewing question is where you see yourself in 5 years.

The purpose of this question is to see if you would like to stay at the company for many years. Bringing on new emp...

Too Much Focus on the Future

The "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" question is about the interviewer wanting to see if you can draw a straight line from the future back to the present. A two-part answer works well.

  • " I want this particular job..." reinforces your desire for the position.
  • In part two, explain your future plans "... because it will help ..."
What Career Path the Company Offers

You should answer the question honestly, but your answer should also reflect the research you put into the company.

Find out what training programs are offered through the firm while holding down your full-time job. Mention your goal to grow your skills, and you'll impress your interviewer with your future-focused desires.

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Feeling stuck in your career

A lot of people complain that they feel stuck in their careers: they feel they're working hard, but they don't seem to move forward in life.

This feeling of being stuck has to do with a ...

Knowledge and Meta-Knowledge

Doing well in your career requires there factors:

  • Being capable of doing your work well. This requires knowledgeFor example, if you’re a lawyer, you need to have a rich knowledge of the law.
  • Meta-knowledge, or knowledge about how your career works. For example, knowing which skills matter and how to best demonstrate your talent in your particular industry.
How to get Meta-Knowledge

The main route to meta-knowledge is by doing research. And it involves studying people, more than books or in a particular school.

But avoid simply asking people for advice. When you ask for advice, you’ll often get vague, unhelpful answers. Instead, you need to observe what the people that are successful in your field are doing.