“So, what are your career plans?”

“Have you thought about your career yet?” 

“Listen, doing an MBA after you’ve completed your engineering degree is always the safest bet.”

“Opt for Dermatology. The beauty industry is booming.”

Sound familiar?

If you are a student with larger-than-life aspirations, you must have heard all of these questions to the point of exhaustion. At the risk of sounding cliché, planning your career is one of the most crucial steps in your life.  A good career can be the difference between having peers look up to you or having to always lookup. You can take control of your career from the word go and choose your own destiny. 

And that brings us to the most obvious question, “how do I plan a successful career?” Worry not, we are here to guide you through the twists and turns of what a successful career path can and should be! To put it simply, a career development plan is an opportunity to identify your skills, choices, and passions, and design a roadmap to achieve your goals for both the short- and long-term. 

Stages of a successful career journey   

Stage I – Assessment: Remember, the process of self-evaluation is the beginning of a realistic career plan. A good place to start is by asking yourself, “do I know what I  want to do?” To know yourself is to identify your likes/dislikes, personality traits, skills, subjects of interest, and values. 

  • The best place to begin is by taking personality assessment tests. 
  • You may also get in touch with a career coach for proper career guidance and early planning. 
  • Shortlist academic courses and career options that match your skills and interests. 
  • Talk to others who have taken a similar program, as second opinions help to develop a holistic picture of what the program entails. 

Stage II – Research and development: The mantra for a perfect career fit is: research and exploration. More research and exploration. Even more research and exploration. Focus on your interests and skills, research and gather information about your planned career path as much as you can. Consult a career counsellor and learn about your preferred academic programs, options for experiential learning, and career opportunities. You can also conduct informational interviews with professionals in your chosen field. Attending career development seminars and networking events help to widen your knowledge base.

Stage III – Getting ready: Three key things to remember while preparing your career plan are:

  • Create your resume highlighting your key achievements, and cover letter mentioning the purpose and motivating factors
  • Develop an elevator pitch showcasing your skills and goals in perfect sync
  • Learn from the best speakers and industry experts, and hone your communication skills for interviews and group discussions.  

As an aspirant, you should test the waters before diving into the big pool of competing applications. Make it count. To impress decision-makers, here’s a tip: they tend to like the candidates who know how the game works. Groom yourself to ace the game. Take up internships, traineeships, summer jobs, volunteer work, or part-time jobs that provide you with the opportunity to gain practical knowledge straight from professionals and earn brownie points from hiring managers. Remember, the time to start building your network was yesterday. If you haven’t started – start now. Attend business forums, career fairs, professional workshops, or even have a conversation with your parent’s business partner. Networking is the secret sauce of success.  

Stage IV – An action plan for implementation: By the time you reach this stage, you have a dream – you know what you want to do in life, what you want to achieve and where you want to reach.  You have all the relevant information, knowledge, testimonies, and experience needed for the execution. Now it’s time to put the plan into action. If you think you need to polish your skills a little bit more, go for it. If you think you need to study more, go for it. If you think you need to enroll in a relevant professional course, go for it. Whatever you think helps make a stronger case for your dream career to turn into reality, go for it. It is useful to remember that possessing only theoretical knowledge is of little use in the ever-evolving world we live in. 

What makes a good action plan is looking at areas you can tweak, and then tweaking those. Possessing skills beyond professional requisites is an appreciable quality. Learning a foreign language, playing a sport, or having hands-on knowledge of coding, is always a plus point. What we’re trying to get at is that hiring managers go through a pile of applications and if someone knows French and can also do coding, that someone will definitely have more chances of being chosen.  

Stage V – Taking the big decision: 

Relax. Take a deep breath. Believe in your instincts. Be confident. And with dedication, put the pedal to the metal! 

The positive manifestation of goals is really important. Try to be optimistic. Have faith in your dreams; they will come true. Say to yourself: “I can and I will.” Whether it is medicine, law, music or sports, choose your career pathway wisely. Trust Career Success Coaches of LaunchMyCareer to help you make an informed decision. Log on to LaunchMyCareer now.

As Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”