Crafting Your Career Plan

Crafting Your Career Plan

In a tough economy, sometimes you have to take a job that isn’t your dream job. Don’t let that prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Crafting a solid plan – and continually evaluating how that plan is going – are the keys to staying on track.

Make sure you’re getting the most out of your job, no matter what it is. What are you learning in your job?¬†Are you honing particular skills or gaining knowledge about a certain industry? How might these skills be applicable to a different job or industry in the future? See if there are other people at your company that you can learn from. How did they move up the ladder? If someone is willing to mentor you, his or her insight and connections can be invaluable.

How long are you willing to stay in your job without getting a raise or being promoted? If you feel comfortable and happy, you’re lucky. But if you’re hoping to move up or move on, sometimes it helps to give yourself a deadline. Evaluate how things have been going. If you aren’t learning anything anymore, it may be time to change directions. Ask your supervisor(s) to be honest about mobility so you can decide if it’s worth it to stay at the company. Remember that a higher salary might mean less time to spend with your family, and that self-employment might mean buying out-of-pocket health insurance. Make a list of what’s most important to you, and find the job that best fits your priorities.

Lastly, some of your most important work might be done outside the workplace. Read and research as much as possible. Can you take an adult education class in a field like grant writing or computer programming that will make you more marketable? Are there growing industries that might need someone like you?