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Five on Friday: Planning your career

Five on Friday: Planning your career

Welcome to Five on Friday, a round-up of views on a theme. In this issue we take a look at different ways to plan your career. Many people take a good hard look at their career prospects at the beginning of the year, but you can start with a little canny planning now to stay ahead. Here are five tools to help you see opportunities.

There are two types of career-minded people in this world, those who know what they want to do and point their compass—their education, training and experience—in that direction from the get-go, and those who follow what they like and what they’re good at and let a career choose them. No matter which camp you fall into, it’s a good idea to have an overview of where you are, and where you might want to go next in your career.

1. Defined career path
When you choose a career, it means you have an outcome in mind and at least a notion of how you’re going to get there. The more specific you are in terms of the role you ultimately want, the clearer the steps to get there. The careers chosen in this manner tend to have a path laid out. If you want to be a neurosurgeon, there’s a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate studies, medical school, specialist medical education and years as a hospital intern to take you through to your eventual goal. Even if your goal is a little more nebulous, for example ‘writer’, filling in the details such as what you’d like to write (novels? essays? articles?) will help you figure out the steps you need to achieve that ambition.

2. Personality tests
When a career chooses you, it’s often due to a combination of what you like and what you’re good at, though not necessarily in equal measure. Simple tests like the Australian Government’s Job Outlook Career Quiz can give you an overview of the kind of career that would suit you, or you can sign up for something more comprehensive such as the Myers-Briggs, which determines your personality through a series of questions, from which you can then match top a suitable career.

3. Map your career
Whether or not you’re a planner, a career map can help you see a range of career opportunities from a variety of positions, including ‘what if’ scenarios, such as what roles may become available when you attain certain qualifications, skills and/or experience.

You can use tools such as this one from Monster to create a career map, or you can simply make one yourself, using mind-mapping techniques to connect roles along a path using this Lifehacker guide. A career map gives you greater clarity of the options open to you and will allow you to identify gaps, for example where you might need extra training or more work experience, that may prevent you from continuing along a path.

4. The coach is never too late
In high school, career counsellors would take a look at your academic strengths and weaknesses, your extra-curricular activities and your personality to suggest a career path, but who will do the same for you after you leave school? Career coaches, mentors and even some recruitment agencies can give you the insight you need to find the right career path for your qualification, skills, experience. Make sure you look for someone who has the right kind of experience and is a good fit for you.

5. Refer to your childhood dreams

Have a great weekend!

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