In the final part of the series, we will talk about Tool #3, which provides the key for developing your career plan. This means understanding what your profession and career really are. Your best work experience is made up of what you love to do, what you do well, and what earns you enough money to live as you would like. This is your core career. All three of these things need to be present to ensure a sustainable career. If these three represent a traditional profession it may be easier to describe your career, but it is important to define what your “occupation” is in terms that someone else would understand. The process of discovering your core career can take time. Reflection and experience will usually give some insight into what makes us happy professionally.
Reviewing your career path map will remind you of jobs you really liked, or trends in occupations that show the thread of what you do well. Using assessments such as Myers Briggs and Strengthsfinders can be useful in identifying your talents and potential strengths.
I like to capture the three components of the core career by drawing a circle with lines dividing it into three pie sections. Each of the components—what we love to do, what we are good at, and what we can earn a living at —fits into one of the segments. Continuing to develop this tool will bring new information every time it added to. Your career plan then becomes a list of options for future career directions, positions, job experiences, new education, and/or working conditions that are based on your core career description.
Setting Personal and Professional Development Goals
Tool #4 is a grid that helps set goals and take action that will add to a resume in both personal and professional ways. Sometimes, we think we only need to worry about our resume when we are out of a job but it is worth remembering that it is an ongoing activity to stay marketable. Once multiple options have been established in a career plan, it is important to assess whether expectations of competence are being met in all areas. Personal and professional development activities may always be pursued to keep a career relevant and up to date. Continuing to learn by adding new experiences or signing up for formal classes keeps us ready for the future.