What can you do to plan effectively?

Although you may have a definite goal in mind, you might have to take a bit of a circuitous route to get there. These days most people don’t just decide they want to work in marketing, start with an entry level position in a big company and work their way to the top. Of course, that’s still possible, but it’s no longer the norm.

It has been estimated that young people starting out today will retrain on average seven times over their working lives. And that means train for a new career, not just update skills for an existing one.

If you have a definite goal, you might have been told that your goals along the way should be SMART. However, quite a few people disagree with this and suggest HARD or DUMB goals. Let’s take a look at what all that means.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-limited.

DUMB is for Dream driven, Uplifting, Measurable and Behavioral driven.

HARD is for Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult.

 

To understand more about these goals and to choose whichever is best for your own career development, here are links to some useful articles:

https://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/smart-objectives/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/transitioning-from-smart-dumb-goals-dana-barzilay/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2017/06/11/hard-goals-not-smart-goals-are-the-key-to-career-development/?sh=76bf58cc70fb

It’s als0 useful to have a Plan B – create a plan which you can put into action if Plan A doesn’t work. The thing is, Plan A might not work for a positive reason – you reach a point where you have much more knowledge about the career and make an informed decision that it’s not right for you. Or you suddenly come across another career that grips you more than the one you are currently following or researching.

 But What Can You Do if You Don’t Have a Goal (or a Plan B)?

Instead of simply deciding on a specific career just for the sake of it, you should look at the wider range of possibilities open to you with your existing set of skills. Many of your current skills and much of your previous experience could prove useful in a wide range of jobs. If you are already working, or coming back after a break, there are various options to consider, including moving to a different job within the same industry, getting a similar job in a different industry or retraining for something totally new. 

If you are new to the workforce, be aware that your skills are not limited to one or two fields.

To give yourself a broader view of the world of careers, try making a list of all the jobs which didn’t exist when your parents or grandparents were starting out: personal trainer, web designer, life coach, infopreneur are just a few. I’m sure you’ll come up with a lot more. 

As we live in a knowledge-led society, it is important to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge, especially in topics which will increase the range of occupations available to you.

Unless you are looking for a radical change, you will also need to keep up with developments in your existing career or field of study.

Be willing to develop a broad range of more generic skills, in areas such as IT and communication, which are in short supply in many industries at the moment.

Employers list communication skills as those which are most lacking amongst job candidates.

So even if you don’t know which career you want to end up in, you can start right away by improving your communication skills.

Learn to write grammatically correct English, how to punctuate and spell properly and how to write letters and reports.

By doing this, you’ll give yourself a huge advantage in the job market. And you don’t need to go back to school to do it. All of these things can be learned online. So take advantage of the free resources available.

Make a point of watching trends in the economy, changes in demographics and patterns in spending. These will also help keep you in touch with areas of potential growth in employment. And the current situation with the Covid 19 crisis has really changed things. Let’s take a look at this in more detail.