5 steps for successful career planning

Fast track your career development and success with a career roadmap.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.
This may have been a line out of Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it applies equally to business.  One of the most important steps to reaching what you want is knowing what you are striving for. How many of us, however, follow Alice’s approach, wandering aimlessly without any clear direction?
Having a career roadmap will set you up for success.   At significant checkpoints in the year – such as birthdays, work anniversaries and the start of a new year  – it’s good to reflect on how you are tracking against your plan. And if you don’t have a plan, here is how to create one.
1. Define what success looks like
Think about what’s most important to your career now and how you want your career to look in the future. It’s that dreaded but necessary question in a job interview – where do you see yourself in x amount of years?
Create a chart depicting where you are right now and where you want to be in one, five and ten years’ time. Fill in each with the position titles you are aiming for. Welcome to your new career roadmap!
But remember, the journey may look different as you embark on it. There could be some bumps on the way or the destination may change. In any case, your roadmap is a guideline, and navigating any challenges on the way is just as important.
2. Ask for feedback
Another great way to measure your progress is to ask for feedback. Asking for feedback is not always easy but it will allow you to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and provide clues on what you need to learn to move you towards your goal.
When you ask for feedback, make sure you:
  • Ask for specific feedback on a project or task. Being specific will help you to pinpoint the behaviours to optimise.
  • Take constructive or negative feedback with grace – and always be curious. Ask for examples and dig for hints of how things could have been done differently.
  • Take a step back and be objective – don’t start refuting the feedback. Discuss how you can act on the feedback to improve. Make a plan to start doing so and ask for feedback again at a later date.
  • Look for indirect feedback in the other person’s body language and tone.

Ask multiple views so you can receive a rounded perspective. Don’t limit the conversation to managers, ask your peers too.

3. Plan your professional development
Now you have your career roadmap and a list of your strengths and weaknesses, you can begin to build out the education you need to support you to achieve your goals.   
What qualifications do you need to add to your repertoire? Are you going to specialise? Will you need international experience?
As clients’ expectations grow, you will be expected to demonstrate a higher level of capability and skill. But it is an evolving profession, so continuous learning needs to remain a strategic priority for your career.  Be curious about how broader decisions outside your area of focus impact business and always try to deliver the best result for your client.
4. Be open with your manager
Be transparent about your goals and share your career roadmap with your manager. There may be more opportunities for advancement than you realise. They have a broader view of what is happening in the company and can see what career possibilities exist. By talking to your manager and letting them know your aspirations, you’re putting yourself on their radar. If they’re supportive, they’ll offer you help and advice to help you reach your goals and work together with you to achieve them.

5. Use your network

It’s easy to feel like networking is a waste of time, energy, or money—but that just means you’re doing it wrong.   A diverse network of connections – with a range of job titles, industries and locations – can offer opportunities for your career that you may never have envisioned.
You don’t have to achieve your career aspiration on your own. Have help and support from others.
You could ask role models how they progressed or find a mentor – someone who can warn you against making short-sighted moves that could damage your career and encourage you to play on the edge of your comfort zone, where you will experience the greatest growth and rewards. They may also introduce you to people in their own network who can further your career.
Your career roadmap can flex as your circumstances change and it not a straight line from A to B. This is your action plan to guide your career path and your future success.
Find out more about the benefits structured education with The Tax Institute can deliver for your career.


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