Advice on planning your career in your chosen profession and creating a strategy for the future.

Career Planning Advice

 

Career planning in an ever-changing world

There is a perception that a career is a straightforward, linear path and that you are expected to know what path you need to take upon graduation. However, what many neglect to think about is the fact that the world we live in is ever changing and career planning and career choices change also.

Change is a constant. It isn’t going away or slowing down, instead it’s speeding up. Expertise has an ever-shorter shelf life and all commentators speak about the need for agility, adaptability, resilience and creativity as future skill requirements or forever skills.

It is likely that you will have more than one career in your working lifetime. Current research suggests that people will have an average of 5 to 7 careers. Approaching careers with a planned and logical path is long gone.

If you feel like you don’t know yet what career path you want to take; it is absolutely ok to feel like this. The following career steps will help you to plan your career steps no matter what career stage you are at. These steps can be entered at any life stage, and you will find that you will probably revisit this on numerous occasions throughout your professional life. As you develop new skills and knowledge, you may want to re-assess your preferences and create a new plan of action.

Career planning video

Career planning in an ever-changing world video, Karina Septore, Careers Advisor - 3.09 minutes

Career Planning Strategy

This section will provide you with some steps to follow to get your career strategy on track.

Know Yourself

More often than not, people take a job to person approach, by examining advertised jobs and applying, if they feel they are a good fit. This approach my lead to potentially dissatisfying career decision as you overlook your personal needs and satisfaction you seek from career. 

Evaluating your values, interests, skills, personality type and your workplace preferences will lead towards a satisfying career. 

Identify your core values and beliefs prior making applications. It is important to note, that everyone has different values, and these may change throughout your working life, hence, people may change careers. Some values may include job security, teamwork, trust and independence. 

Think about your interests, both, inside and outside your professional life. Are there similar type of jobs which can meet your interests?

Identify your strengths and weaknesses, as this will help you to assess your career-readiness. Additionally, this may lead towards thinking about the nature of work, i.e. Would you like a career where your strengths will be utilized? Will this career choice challenge me in a positive way?

There are many personality tests that can suggest a career fit and help you understand your personality type. There resources are available to NCI students and graduates. Please contact the Careers & Opportunities to avail of these services. 

Next time you look at a job description, focus on “Know Yourself” and see whether there is a potential fit with your career preferences. 
 

Know Opportunities

It is equally important to research career opportunities available to you. Shortlisting possible options based on your knowledge and experiences is an excellent way to start. You may want to look at your: academic curriculum, work experience and career paths in your network. 

Look beyond advertised jobs and job descriptions! Connect with people on LinkedIn, network with people at career fairs and use additional resources such as labour market information to inform yourself about trends and needs of your preferred industry. 

Use informational interviewing when talking to people as it will help you to create powerful questions which will help you in the career decision process. These questions should be based on your values. Sample of informational interviewing questions: 

Your value - teamwork. 

Question: How often do you get to work with others? 

Are there any team projects in your role?
 

Decide

Combining your research based on personal preferences and possible occupations brings you to the decision-making stage. Think about how you make career decisions – are there any biases? We need to think more sceptical of our decisions and find ways to broaden our options. Sample of biases in career decision making: 

Discounting 

  • Do you find yourself going for an OK option because other options might take more time or resources? 

Present knowledge 

  • Do you find yourself looking into options that you are already familiar and feel comfortable with?
  • Do you focus on researching new ideas and options that fall outside of your current knowledge?

Look at the potential biases and ask yourself:

  • Are there any biases you recognise in yourself? 
  • Have any of these biases affected you in the past? 
  • How could you adapt your behaviour?

The changing world impacts your career decision which may not immediately reflect in your initial career choice. You might be still exploring and learning, and you need to test your assumptions about a specific job. It is important that you stay positive along the way and stay open. You may want to approach decision process with an open mind and occasionally take risks, for example, career change or undertaking another degree, if it is aligned with your career goals. 
 

Prepare


Once you are clear about your career preferences and you have identified opportunities, it is time to start preparing your application! 

Career planning support 

A team of professional Careers Advisors is available to support you with career planning via one-to-one discussion.

Additional career planning resources such as “Your Career Journey” are available for pick up in the NCI Careers Library on the ground floor.