25 Tips for Career Planning

25 Tips for Career Planning

Before you begin your job search, ask yourself few questions. What do you want to do? What are you trying to do? What kind of job do you want? By answering these questions at the outset, you create a career plan that focuses your search. Review the following 25 tips organized to help you in your career planning process.

1. Know what skills you enjoy using

Job-hunting requires going back to “square one.” Make an inventory of your abilities and acquired knowledge; this will assist in making career decisions. You should develop an understanding of yourself including values, interests, aptitudes, abilities, personal traits, and desired lifestyle, and become aware of the inter-relationship between you and your occupational choice.

2. Match your interests to career-related skills

To make a successful career choice, you must match your interests with the skills you want to offer a prospective employer. Try using a self-assessment test to help identify your aptitudes, personality, and interests. These tests allow you to determine your strengths and match them to career-building skills. Read my blog post on How to Discover Your Strengths.

3. Identify a career direction

Career planning is a lifelong process, requiring continuous effort to meet changing employment conditions. To achieve and manage a satisfying career, it is crucial to identify a preferred career direction and to implement effective career-enhancing strategies.

4. Maximize your resources

There are many resources available to help in planning a career. Use these resources for career assessment, exploration, and planning to help you identify potential careers, gather information about those careers, and match the career to your own assessment of skills. Resources include career-planning software, career workshops, school career service centers, Internet resources, libraries, employment service departments, career fairs, and career days.

5. Research occupations

Find out more about the nature of the jobs that interest you, such as educational requirements, salary, working conditions, future outlook, and anything else that can help you determine the best career for you.

6. Gain practical experience

Evaluate your occupational choices and gain practical experience through internships, cooperative education, relevant summer employment, volunteer work, and campus activities.

7. Interview people whose occupations interest you

You can always find someone who has done something that at least approximates what you want to do. If possible, set up personal meetings or phone calls with these people to discuss the nature of their work. You will learn a great deal about your new career and will be better informed when choosing a career direction.

8. Prepare a career portfolio

Prepare a collection of work samples, a resume, recommendations, a list of references, transcripts, copies of applications, and other pertinent job search tools.

9. Plan your personal job search campaign

Once you are aware of your career values, interests, and skills and are ready to launch yourself into a new career, you need to plan your personal job campaign. This entails establishing your career goals, planning and organizing your job search campaign, preparing materials, and achieving your job search campaign objectives within the timeframe you have set.

10. Begin preparation for a job search

Before embarking on a new career search, it is crucial to learn how to prepare resumes and cover letters specifically designed for a career change. Additionally, since you will need to practice identifying and communicating your transferable skills, you will need more time to prepare for interviews.

11. Anticipate and prepare for problems

Planning for potential problems will help ensure your career change goes smoothly. You may not be able to predict exactly what problems might arise, but make a list of potential concerns that may be likely in your case. If you take the time to plan for potentially difficult situations beforehand, you may be able to turn an obstacle into a solvable problem when the need arises.

12. Determine the best way to market yourself

Think of your job search as a campaign; you are promoting your skills, training, and experience to potential employers. Your career change strategy includes repositioning your resume to highlight your relevant accomplishments, using your network of friends, relatives, and professional contacts to generate job leads, and developing effective interview skills. Read my blog post on How to Build and Maintain Your Professional Network.

13. Determine what skills employers want

Employers are demanding more skills and accomplishments from their candidates, not just job titles. Find out what skills today’s employers are looking for in your career field by reading the requirements of job advertisements for your occupation. Read my blog post on the Best Online Training Sites to Improve Your Skills.

14. Expand your horizons

Do not limit yourself to looking for new careers in growing industries. What is hot today is not always hot tomorrow, and there is usually strong competition in these areas. Let your research carry you into unexpected and unanticipated areas. You may be surprised at what you discover.

15. Learn new skills

From your research, you will know which skills employers value most in your target career field. If you do not possess these skills, you will need training. There is a variety of training options that will help you prepare for a new job: self-learning, workshops, conferences and the Internet. Read my blog post on the Best Online Training Sites where you can learn new skills.

16. Decide which employers to contact

Once you have completely researched the companies you are interested in working for, determine which companies offer the best potential for career advancement and which companies have positions open in your field. These are the best employers to contact during your initial search and offer the best chance for success.

17. Probe the marketing trends of the workforce

The better understanding you have about how global events affect the workplace, the more prepared you’ll be to meet the challenges. To learn where the job market is going, it is necessary for you to probe the current trends. Which industries are spurring new jobs and opportunities? What skills will be needed to compete in the future?

18. Develop a daily plan

Once you have narrowed your career choices, create a workable plan with a schedule for each of the strategies and steps you will take. Map out which activities you will do each day, e.g., Monday and Wednesday will be devoted to networking, Tuesday and Saturday for online job search strategies, etc. and stick with your plan. Your job search needs to be treated as a new job and it is far easier to manage when you give it a structure and have a routine.

19. Start planning now

If you are unhappy with your present career, and do not start planning a career change now, your attitude may continue to deteriorate and begin affecting your job performance. Begin your job search before your attitude affects your performance and you put your job in jeopardy. This will give you control over the time you can spend on your search and your ability to find the right job to launch a new career transition to. Additionally, you will maintain your reputation as a quality employee.

20. Assess your career choices

Compare the facts you have collected about yourself and facts you have collected about jobs and decide questions such as: Can you see yourself carrying out all the different duties of the job? Would you be happy doing those tasks? Can you use your abilities in that job? Does this career satisfy your needs? Based on these and other questions, decide which job is best for you.

21. Discuss career choices with people you know

Talk to friends, parents, teachers, and career counselors. Brainstorm with them; let them know what your interests and skills are and they may be able to think of possible career choices that you were not able to identify.

22. Maximize your online resources

There are many sites on the Internet, which discuss the thousands of career options available. Discover a variety of these sites by typing “career planning” or “career” into your favorite Internet search engine.

23. Narrow your focus

After all of the researching, interviewing, exploring, and assessing you have completed, you should have a general idea of your likes and dislikes and a general idea of what you are good at. Now it is time to focus on the specific careers that maximize all of these areas.

24. Look for new career ideas in all areas of your life

New careers can be built on ideas from anywhere. Look for, or create environments in which they can flourish. Foster creativity in all areas of your life: at work, in traffic, or while shopping. Make brainstorming a part of your career search. Encourage others to help you generate new ideas. Use outside sources for new thoughts. Break your routines. Go to a library, museum, or city hall. Read a different newspaper or magazine. See a different kind of movie. You want new ideas and they can come from anywhere.

25. Be Patient

Be patient and be realistic. Do not expect a glamorous career to appear immediately. Use your common sense, listen to other people’s advice, be yourself in interviews, and do the necessary work it will take to find the right job in a new career.

Best Online Training Sites to Improve Your Skills

Best Online Training Sites to Improve Your Skills

Interviewer: What do you think is the greatest challenge facing your field today?

Interviewee: Well that’s easy. This industry is constantly changing and always growing. Just when you think you got to handle on everything there is to know, something new comes up. I think the greatest challenge today is staying up to date and keeping current with such a rapidly changing environment.

Do you believe that you know everything you need to know to do your job? Well, think again because here is the truth: the world around us is changing very fast. What you know about a certain software today gets obsolete after 6 months or a year. How you do Sales today gets outdated and seem to not work a year or two from now. Which leads me to the point that whatever field you are in, you need to update your skills. Your sales skills, presentation skills, web design skills, coding skills or whatever skill it is, you need to update to compete. There is no exemption. You need to keep current or you’ll get left behind.

Learning today is much easier compared to how our ancestors learned decades ago. Thanks to the advent of the internet, information is there—open to be discovered, to be used and to be shared. For example, if you want to know how to use Photoshop, you can just search it on Google and you can find blogs or you can watch YouTube videos related to Photoshop.

Now, if you are serious on learning a new skill or improving your professional skills, you can check out these top online training sites where you can discover and learn almost anything you want to know on a specific software or skill. You can even find an idea how to earn money (in your own way) by taking your learning skills to the next level.

Best Online Training Sites

7. Skillshare

Skillshare is an online training site where anyone can sign up to take a class and teach at the same time.

Their mission is pretty simple—‘Unlocking the world’s creativity’. They believe that everyone is creative and by giving tools to harness creativity, they can change lives for the better. And by dismantling the traditional barriers to learning, anyone, anywhere in the world can learn whatever they set their minds to.

Skillshare allows free membership but they also have premium membership of $10 a month or annual membership of $96, allowing users to watch all of their 1,900 and growing courses.

6. Coursera

Coursera is an online training and education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take. What makes them different from other online training sites is the fact that their courses are taught by educators from known universities and organizations around the world.

Their courses cover subjects on Arts and Humanities, Business, Computer Science, Math and many more. They brag about their platform that’s based on proven teaching methods verified by top researchers. Like other training sites, they also provide interactive quizzes, peer graded assessments and they connect fellow learners and instructors. They also provide (optional) certificates after finishing a course.

Although Coursera have free courses, majority of their courses are fee-based.

5. Udemy

Udemy was founded in 2010, designed to bring people together with expertise in different areas. Udemy provides tools and market for the experts—to make and sell courses, and take a cut of the proceeds.

With over 32,000 courses available, you can learn from almost any topic, mostly covering yoga, music, coding, marketing and graphic design.

What’s nice with Udemy is the fact that most of their courses are totally ‘unique’ in nature, like ‘How to import from China - The beginner’s guide‘. (You can’t find a course like this on any other online training sites).

You can take a course in Udemy for an average cost of $30 but some courses are available for free like Karl Taylor’s FREE Photography Course.

On the other hand, the disadvantage of Udemy is the repetition of content in some courses. Some courses are also taught by non-english speakers making it distracting and difficult to understand. But overall, Udemy is a great place to learn and improve your skills.

4. Class on Demand

Class on Demand is one of the top training authorities in the creative and media industry.

They have a wide selection of award-winning tutorials by industry experts and each course is full of tips and techniques that you can easily apply. Their tutorials cover popular software and hardware, i.e. from Adobe After Effects to GoPro Camera tutorials.

On the backside, Class on Demand’s courses are more expensive compared to other online training sites.

3. VTC

Founded in 1996, Virtual Training Company or simply VTC, is one of the world’s leading producers of online computer and software training. They started distributing cd-roms and then moved to web-based online training.

They are clear about the idea that anyone have the ability to learn to use computer software on their own time. With more than 1,000 courses, you can choose from subjects covering programming, databases and security. If you are seeking tutorials on Adobe Dreamweaver or Joomla, you can find it here too.

2. Tuts+

Tuts+ is one of the leading publisher of online tutorials and courses for self-directed learners to develop creative skills. Like Skillshare, its mission is to uncover users’ creativity. Their courses cover subjects on coding, design & illustration, music, photography, game development, craft and more.

With 620+ courses, Tuts+ helps users learn creative skills for only a $15 per month subscription.

Tuts+ is also a part of Envato’s creative ecosystem, contributing to its mission of helping people learn and earn online.

1. Lynda.com

Lynda.com is simply the best online training site. Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and husband Bruce Heavin, Lynda.com is the most reliable and the leading online training company that helps anyone learn in variety of fields—business, software, technology and creative skills—for the purpose of achieving personal and professional goals.

The teachers and authors of lynda.com are top experts under the field. Courses have available exercise files to keep up with the lesson. They also provide professional certificate to finishers of each course. And being the leading online training site, you don’t have to pay each course, you only need to pay a subscription of $25 per month or P1,175 to get access to their 3,900 and growing courses. However, if you want to download the files offline and get the exercise files, you need to pay a premium subscription.

On April 2015, LinkedIn Corporation bought Lynda.com for $1.5 B. If you are in LinkedIn, you probably heard this news and who knows, LinkedIn, being a professional networking site, might connect with Lynda.com to help LinkedIn members improve their professional skills.

Final Take

There are other online training sites you can find apart from this list. Acquire or master a skill needed in your industry. Keep learning and don’t get left behind. If you can’t afford to take any of the professional courses, you can just take the free courses available in Udemy, Skillshare or Lynda’s catalog. And you can always use the internet to improve your skills—read blogs, watch vlogs, listen to podcasts or read eBooks.

The learning method today is way much easier compared to how our ancestors learned way back, yet they learned great things that we know today and apply in our daily lives.

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