WHAT IS A CAREER PATH AND SHOULD I BUILD ONE?
If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. The most successful and happiest people have a life plan that includes their career path. They have a vision of where they want to be and how to get there. Let’s take a look at the top tips to build your own career path and increase your wealth and happiness.
What is a career path?
Think of it as a number of jobs you will need to do to get the skills and experience you need to land your dream profession. It can take many forms. Some people set a job target and move from one job to another in that sector or profession. They gain direct experience and more responsibility and bigger salaries as they progress. Other people build what are called transferable skills. They move from sector to sector accumulating different, but relevant, experience.
Both approaches work if you are clear about where you want to go. Successful career paths happen when you stick to the route you have planned. Imagine you want to get from Liverpool to Manchester. Head North East and you’re on track. Head South West and you’ll be in Wales. While Bangor is very nice, it’s not where you intended to be.
So, the first and most important thing you should do is have a vision. You need to decide where you want to be. The happiest people in their work life are the people who know what they are working towards and have a vision that makes them happy. If you hate working with figures, don’t plan to be a Finance Director in a top accountancy company. Some people set visions based on professions they think will make them high earners. That’s fine, but make sure you pick one where you are going to love your job. You’ll do it with passion, learn faster because you are interested in it and rise to the top much faster.
Ask yourself a few questions when building your vision of yourself in the future.
What improvements do you want to make in your life? What things do you like doing the most? What projects would you like to be involved with?
The next thing to do is to think about the skills you might already have that you need to build upon. It’s best to make a list of these. Think about the education and training you have, so the skills you have already built and how you can apply these to the sectors you might want to work in. Also think about the personal traits you might have. How do they fit to your vision? For example, you may not want to be a pilot if you are scared of flying. Get on the internet and look at different jobs that need the current skills and interests you have.
Now it’s time to look at where you are on your career path.
The starting point. You may be just out of school. You may have been in work for a while. It’s never too late to look at building a career path and it’s important to put yourself on that path. You could be starting out from Liverpool and have already got to Warrington without a plan. It’s time to begin to think about what you need to build the further skills and experience to move you at pace along the path you’ve chosen. It’s also useful to look at different companies in your chosen sector and begin to see whether they value someone who has worked their way through the sector or they prefer someone who has built skills across different sectors.
Now you have a vision and an understanding of where you might be on your career path it’s time to plan your career progression to get to the job you are ultimately looking for. The internet is your friend as is linkedIn and talking to people who hold those roles already. This will help you to understand the positions you may need to work in to build the skills and experience you need. Don’t be afraid to gather information from a wide range of sources. If you have a career advisor they will be able to help too.
Once you have built your career path remember to keep reviewing it. This will help you to stay on the path and help you to keep it relevant as industries and markets change.
Take some time to build your career path this week. It could be the start of a journey to wealth and happiness that will change your life.