What’s the difference? A job is work you took on to pay the bills, that gives you a salary in exchange for your time.
But a career is about the direction you want your life to take. A career is a long-term professional journey, the path you to fulfill your professional goals and ambitions. It often encompasses different jobs with different companies, each a step up towards your career goal.
A job lasts only until you find something better; a career might last for your entire life.
This is exactly the reason why you cannot leave your career up to chance or whatever falls into your lap the way you could for a job. To plan your career, follow these 5 steps:
Step 1: Find out what job title you want to hold.
Start by brainstorming where you want to be. These include titles you want to hold, positions suggested for you by aptitudes tests, or jobs you’ve read about that you think are really cool or make a real difference. Anything goes!
Then, you can start researching these jobs and finding out more about them. What is a day in the life of one of these people like? What qualifications or skills are necessary to apply for these positions? Understanding what those might be will help you narrow down your choices to and decide where you want to be in your career.
Step 2: Understand the earning potential.
Now that you know what job title you want to hold, it’s time to learn about its benefits. You might want to start searching by job title with a salary finding tool. Then, you can move on to comparing private versus public pay structures, insurance, claims, flexi-hours and other requirements you might need. These are important factors to consider when deciding on a career path, or at the very least, your next role.
Step 3: Learn about the skills or education you might need.
As you proceed up the corporate ladder and further in your career, you’ll probably find yourself needing specialised skills and education tailored to your role. Find out what these are in advance and get your learning in! So whether you just graduated or you’re looking to change careers, learn more about the skills and education you need to make a multi-year plan.
Step 4: Write it All Down.
We mean it, don’t just keep your career plan in your head! Without some physical documentation, you’re liable to forget what you decided or let others sway you easily. Having your goals noted down will keep them fixed in your mind. Not only will this help you stay focused, it is a great piece of information to have when discussing your promotion or job options with others.
Step 5: Begin the Journey.
Now that you know where you want to go, the only thing to do is take that first step! You might want to start small by networking in the industry you’re intending to move to, or commit yourself wholeheartedly to a new degree for a new position. Or you can start searching for jobs in whatever field you want to enter.
However you begin, you’re on the right track for yourself and your career – go forward with confidence!