Developing a career strategy is also known as a method of career management. It involves a process of determining what type of career you want and knowing how to follow through with the steps necessary to reach your goals. There are many techniques that can be utilized to help make sure you stay focused and on the path to a successful career.
Having a career strategy will undoubtedly lead you to professional happiness. A strategy provides you with a tangible guide to follow that will encourage you to push forward.
Following are some simple guidelines will help you develop your career strategy:
- Don’t be afraid to have career goals that seem complicated: If you are currently in an entry level position at a company and you are sure that you want to work your way up the corporate ladder so that you will become a manger someday, don’t feel that this is an impossible goal. The career strategy that you must employ will involve knowing the necessary steps that must be taken to get gradual promotions, and to work your way to higher level positions. If this involves going back to school to achieve a degree or if it involves staying in lower level positions for a specific period of time – so be it! Put all of these requirements into your career strategy. Stay on task, and you will earn it!
- Follow your instincts. Most people are rule followers: If a “rule” says that you must stay in a position for 10 years before you can move to the next level or be transferred to a more desirable department, and you don’t want to wait 10 years – DON’T. Ten years is a long time to wait for something that you want. In a case like this, it is often better to break the rules than to follow them. Start researching your options. Learn how you can advance your career elsewhere. Follow your gut when it tells you that it’s time to move to another employer. Come up with a career strategy that involves looking for the job you want at a company that does not hold you back.
- Go back to school: If your career strategy is to work in a profession that requires a specific degree you must enroll in courses that will allow you to pursue your goals. Your strategy might involve attending school at night so that you can still work and make money during the day. Or, you might choose to attend school full time during the day if you have the financial means to do so. Make sure to follow a strategy that will work well for you and one that will not cause you financial distress while you are in school.
- Don’t rely on other people to find you a job: If you are either unemployed or if you are looking for a new job, it is unrealistic to believe that someone else will help you find the job of your dreams. You may be lucky. You may find a head hunter or an employment service that will find a position for you. But, your career strategy should not involve a reliance on others to help you find a respectable position. Always remember that you are the only one in charge of your own destiny. If you want a specific job, you will have to be determined enough to find it yourself. Make this a critical element of your career strategy.
- Be prepared to accept an entry-level position if it is in the correct industry: Anyone that is looking to enter a profession in a vastly different industry than their current career should expect to start at the bottom. This is not necessarily a bad thing! Starting at the bottom will allow you to learn about the industry for a period of time. After you begin to feel comfortable you will be able to move into a position with more authority. The core knowledge that you will need in order to be effective in your career may only be attainable by starting in an entry-level role. Don’t take it personally, and don’t be discouraged. Just incorporate this aspect into part of your strategy.
- Prepare for transfers and moves: In order to meet your career goals it may be necessary to accept internal company transfers or be willing to move to another city. Especially in large corporations, career advancement often involves accepting positions that are in different office locations. If your goal is to achieve a certain level within your organization, your career strategy must include an agreement that you will accept transfers and be willing to move to another city upon request.
For more information about developing a successful career strategy, take a look at the website CareerStrategy.org. Included are tips on how to manage your time and remain focused while developing your strategy. Another excellent source of information is the website AlexandraDuran.com. This website contains an article that discusses how to develop career strategies, long-term plans and goals.
Written by Melanie Fischer, Career & Job Expert who has been writing professionally for over 10 years.