During the 20th century the careers to be pursued by the individuals have been grouped into sectors e.g. Government Sector, Private Sector, Industrial Sector, Education Sector, Social Sector, Banking Sector and so on. A “career” is thus working in any single sector and pursuing goals to rise in organizational structure resulting growth in financial gains. Therefore, a career has always an upward mobility i.e. making more money, having more responsibility, acquiring more status and power etc. Until recent past, people usually had pursued a single career during the most useful part of their life. But it is now common practice to pure multiple careers either sequentially or simultaneously. Therefore career planning and management is now a complicated matter than before.
Career management is a process by which individuals can guide, direct and influence the course of their career and career planning is a continuous process of managing the career. It involves making decisions about future education, training and career choices. These decisions are based upon assessment of your skills, interests, capabilities and capacity to work. This process is unique to each individual. Career planning also involves matching your career aspirations with the opportunities available in an organization followed by identifying the means of accomplishing desired results. A formal career planning has gained importance as most people today will change careers several times during their working life. Therefore, career planning is a lifelong process to help you making choices and manage challenges as they arise during working life.
Formal career planning may be of particular beneficial for people who are looking for:
- Post retirement rehabilitation.
- Changing career.
- Becoming self-employed or starting own business.
The major focus of career planning in an organization is on assisting the employees achieve a better match between personal goals and the opportunities. It must, however, be noted that individual and organizational career are not separate and distinct. A person who is not able to translate his career plan into actions within the organization may probably quit the job, if he has a choice. Organizations, therefore, should help employees in career planning so that both can satisfy each other’s needs.
For any individual, following are the career planning steps which need to be followed to pursue one’s career goals effectively and efficiently:
- Increase self-awareness – discover your transferable skills and don’t underestimate your soft skills.
- Explore career options – short list the choices and analyze current and future market viability of these short listed professions.
- Make the decision – choose the profession having the best match with your aptitude, skills, capabilities and capacity to work as discovered in the first step.
- Acquire knowledge, skills, and experience – to align yourself with the chosen profession quickly and most efficiently you need to formally learn certain skills. You also need to enhance your knowledge to meet the demands of the profession and to increase the depth of the relevant experience.
- Develop self-marketing skills to help implement your career goals – once you have taken the above mentioned steps, you should have the skills to explore the opportunities in the market and place yourself in the most demanding situation.
If you cannot manage the guideline steps mentioned above then seeking a formal career counselling is the most viable action to take.