Deciding early on in your career where you ultimately want to end up and investigating the steps you'll need to take to get there can motivate you to achieve your professional ambitions. While aiming to be CEO of a JSE-listed business as you graduate may be feasible, it'll probably feel more achievable if you plan for the interim stages. What industry experience will you need to gain? What training is required to lead a business?

Think about the following three factors when you're career planning:

1. Your current position

You need to be aware of your present situation in order to figure out what steps will have to be taken to get you where you'd like to be. Take a look at your role, personal attributes, preferences, skill set and values. Once you've analysed these elements think about:

  • What motivates you at work and what part of your role do you enjoy doing?
  • What are your lifestyle priorities?
  • What are some of your strengths and what's your greatest weakness?
  • What do you look to get out of a job?

2. Your ideal job

Using the information you've gathered on yourself may provide clarity on the types of organisations you would fit in to or jobs you would like to pursue. Write down as many suitable roles as you can think of then edit the list according to your personal preferences and relevancy to your skills and experience. Take note of what it's feasible to achieve with your current track record and education. Figure out the gaps and make a plan to address these.

3. The journey

When you've worked out where you'd like your career path to lead, planning each progressive stage will be a manageable task. Think about:

  • What action should you take in the next six, 12, 18 months?
  • How can you complete any training and education needed for progression or change?
  • How will you gain the additional skills and experience you need?
  • In what ways can you expand your network?

Remember, a career plan isn't set in stone. It's a good idea to keep an eye on where you want to be by when, but changes in the economy and unexpected opportunities can make you change your mind, and consequently your direction too.

Creating a career plan can help you achieve your professional goals. If a new job is on your agenda, search all of the Michael Page jobs now.

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