Year End Career Planning-10 Questions to Ask YourselfBy Alvah Parker
It is important to think about your career progress on a regular basis. Now is a great time to ask yourself some questions about your career. Think about the progress you are making and what you want in the future. Even if you are not working at the moment you still own your career. It belongs to you, not your employer. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself in order to make a career plan for 2009.
- What is your vision for your job/career? Start by closing your eyes and imagining you are working at your perfect job in a career you love. What are you doing? Where are you working? An exciting vision gives you a picture of what you are working toward. Having a vision helps you to make decisions and gives you the energy to work a plan and stick with it.
- What are your goals for 2009? Evaluate where you are right now and then think about your vision for your job and career. It may be that your vision is too big to accomplish all in one year. That is fine. What are 4 or 5 goals you could set that would move you forward so that you will be closer to the vision at the end of 2009. Make sure those goals are specific, attainable, measurable, realistic, and time bound.
- What are your career accomplishments for 2008? If you haven't been doing this throughout the year, review the previous year in order to list all of your accomplishments. Use the format you will need for your resume (problem, solution, result). If you are not familiar with the format, check online or join the special offer teleclass!
- What will you do to keep your network active and robust through the year? Looking at your current network of contacts, determine how you will add to the list next year and at the same time stay connected to those currently in that network. You will want to make sure there is time during your week allotted to this activity.
- What is your budget for career enhancing activities for 2009? This year it will also be important to look at your personal budget to make sure you have enough savings to survive a layoff if necessary. The career enhancing activities budget will be for courses you want to take, networking events you want to attend, and organizations you want to belong to. Sometimes your employer will pay for these but it is best to plan to pay yourself just in case that employer is not available or refuses to pay. Again remember your career is your own, not your employers. Do what is necessary to stay current.
- What is your plan B for 2009? If you are working right now and that job is not working out for whatever reason, then you will need a plan B. It is advisable to think about plan B before you need one.
- What skills will you begin or continue to develop in 2009? Identify the areas where you want to have proficient expertise that makes you a more valuable employee. It is vital to add to your expertise through taking advanced courses, attending conferences, reading current books and publications. You want to be seen as a thought leader in your field.
- Who offers you career support? No one can do it alone. Find people in your network to mentor you and guide you. When you need help have people available to listen to you and offer suggestions. While it is useful to have a large network of people to help you. It is important to have a select few with whom you have a strong supportive relationship. Think about your accountant, financial planner, and coach as a few members of that team.
- What will you do for self care this year to keep you and your career in optimal condition? If you don't feel well then it is hard to perform well at your job. Do whatever is necessary to keep yourself in optimal physical and emotional condition. This means working with a trainer if necessary, watching what you eat and how many hours of sleep you get etc.
- When will you take your vacation in 2009? This is also part of self care but Americans are really bad at taking vacations so I gave it a spot of its own. Plan on a real vacation with a change of scenery. It doesn't have to be expensive. It should be relaxing and fun. Put it on your calendar right now and then be sure to take the time to do it!