Savvy job seekers have a career development plan that includes critical job training and career education strategies to get ahead.
Do you aspire to a specific type of job, but you don't really have the skills? Or you lack confidence in your abilities?
Or, maybe you have the skills, but you lack credibility because you're not certified and certification is required by most employers?
Or maybe you're coming back to work after a lengthy employment gap?
It could even be that the career path you've chosen will require you to get an advanced degree through some kind of higher education.
Whatever the case may be, it's important that you have a personalized career development plan that will take you where you want to go.
In today's tough and competitive job market, employers are demanding more skills and knowledge from their employees while providing less on-the-job training. It is for this reason also that career education is now becoming more critical than ever to your future career success.
One way of describing it is a plan for developing knowledge, skills and attitudes through a systematic program of learning experiences that will help you make informed decisions about study and work options that will in turn assist you in participating in the career of your choice.
Whew! That's a mouthful, isn't it? Let's simplify...
In the most basic terms, a career development plan will include:
Let's look at each area in turn...
The first step in your career development plan is to figure out exactly what it is you want to do in terms of a job.
If your plan doesn't include career goals, then you might as well abandon it.
Goals help you focus, but more importantly, they give you something to shoot for... and – when written correctly – they are a ruler against which you can measure your future career success.
Some careers sound great... on paper. But when you find out what they really entail, they may lose some of their glow. So before you commit to a career, find out all you can about it. If money is a motivator for you, click here to learn about the best paid careers.
You can search the Internet, talk to other people doing the job, talk to prospective employers, or even get help from a career coach.
Or, research careers with guides like the ones Vault.com offers on their site when you become a member. (Just click on the picture on the left to get started with Vault, who I highly recommend)
You might even want to check out books about different careers, such as the ones below:
As you do your research, be sure to aim at learning exactly what skills, experience, and training (or even a degree) are needed for that job.
The important thing is to get the facts, so you can make an informed decision.
If you need career education and training, find out what options are available to you, for example:
On-the-job training, through an internship or apprentice program
Online career training, such as classes found through Education-for-Careers.com
If you need more experience, talk to your employer (or a new one) about the possibility of getting an internship (even an unpaid one, if you can afford it).
If you need more college education, then take a look at...
Individual college classes, such as those offered by "Penn Foster Career School"
College degrees from your local community college (much cheaper and easier to access often times than a 4-year university)
An old saying goes, "Even the longest journey starts with a single step." Remember that, and try not to get overwhelmed with all you need to learn.
Lay out your career development plan in step by step fashion... one action step for each task along the way. Aim high, but don't expect to get there all at once.
You can click on the thumbnail images below to access other pages in our career planning and career change section of this site.