Setting a long-term career strategy gives focus to your hard work. Here’s how to decide what you really want and figure out the steps to achieve it.
Think about your options…
Answering these questions will give you a better idea of your career goal.
“Come up with a career sentence,” suggests CEO Brian De Haaf. He describes a career sentence as an “overarching vision” for your career, such as: “Help build software that changes the way people interact with their doctors,” or “Create positive, lasting education opportunities for disadvantaged youths.”
Career goals can be narrow or broad – it’s up to you to set the realistic criteria that mean you’ve achieved it.
Your career strategy could also involve you doing less work – perhaps you want to improve your work/life balance, or save up for early retirement.
A realistic goal should be several things:
Now you have a realistic, specific career goal, think about what barriers you need to overcome to get there.
What skills and experience do you already have? Write down your existing skills, qualifications and relevant experience. This is your starting point.
Now think about what you need to do to achieve your goal:
Breaking your long-term career goal into even more achievable, smaller goals is an effective strategy. Give yourself a timeframe or deadline to achieve each smaller goal to give yourself motivation, and a sense of achievement when you tick things off.
It’s also important to remember to be flexible. If something goes wrong or changes, it’s okay to change the smaller goals as long as you have the long-term goal firmly in sight – don’t give up.
Finally, reed.co.uk has shared a useful template to help organise your career strategy:
Include a brief outline of who you are and what you’re looking for. Include your strongest attributes and interests, as well as where you’re at in your current situation.
Provide an overview of your educational qualifications.
Write a short summary of your employment history.
Short term: E.g. secure job with progression opportunities (in six months).
Mid-term: E.g. get a promotion (in two to five years).
Long term: E.g. become head of department (in five plus years).
Sum up your key skills and competencies – whether they’re gained from work, study, or hobbies.
Use this section to assess what training and development is needed to achieve your goals.
Give yourself a clear, step-by-step guide of the actions needed to reach your goals – including timescales against each action.
You can include as many actions as you want, but it might be most useful to limit yourself to a smaller number – so you can add new ones as you progress.
If you want more help with your career plan, please contact the college careers service.