Is Career Planning Possible in 2019?

The nature of work as we know it is changing almost faster than we can master our current roles. The rapid advances in technology and its impact on both the job market and the economy have made it more difficult than ever before to confidently map out career advancement.

When you don’t know which jobs will even exist in five years, how can you strategize to get ahead? Despite the obstacles though, career planning is in no way dead. Instead, young professionals need to adopt a new method of career planning. The very components that make modern career planning possible are oftentimes those that are also invaluable within the current and future job market: flexibility and adaptability.

Don’t Rely on Experience Alone

Traditionally, experience has been the foundational piece of career planning. You put the time in on lower rungs of the career ladder, and that allows you to move up. But modern professionals would be remiss to simply rely on their level of experience. In a world where things are changing rapidly, roles have to be filled by individuals who don’t have direct experience.

Research has demonstrated that one’s propensity to career adaptability is a primary indicator of one’s likelihood of success not only professionally, but also in other areas of life. To ensure you’re doing all you can to remain competitive within you field make sure you are:

Stay informed: While you may not know exactly where you want to land down the road, you should still be making an effort to stay informed and up-to-date within your industry. Read publications, watch other companies, and ultimately, don’t lose the handle you have on the direction and priorities of your industry.

Unlearn the old: A recent survey found that the primary concern of employees is that their job will be obsolete in the near future, and half believe their specific skill set will be unneeded. The key to dealing with that reality is to be willing to let go of the former methods and processes that got you where you are when they become antiquated.

Refine your skills: The career planning master is also a skill refining master. Knowing what’s coming next for your industry and unlearning the old is only the beginning. There’s value in pairing experience in your field with insight and a clear understanding of where the future of your industry as a whole lies.

Remember Your Connections

In many fields, networking is a fundamental part of getting the job you want. In a pile of cover letters, having a connection can be the only thing that gives you a competitive edge. As you consider your networking connections there’s value in seeing two, distinct sets of relationships.

The Old: The pre-existing connections you have are likely to be swept up in the changes of the marketplace right along with you. In that case, there’s value in continuing to build the relationship, even if you shift directions.

As the president of the New York Stock Exchange told Fast Company, “It doesn’t matter if someone is inside or outside of your industry, if they are interesting and influential, be willing to commit time and/or resources to meet, connect or help that individual.”

The New: What is equally important in the rapidly evolving professional climate of today is that the connections you have are also evolving so that they continue to be a helpful component of your career planning. If your connections aren’t refreshed they will fail to accurately align with your interests and priorities.

Thus, there’s value in networking in the area you’re hoping to head. When doing so the business professionals at Rutgers University recommend, “If you don’t have experience in an area, expertise with a particular type of software or other qualification, don’t try to make it sound like you do. Being truthful about, both your weaknesses and strengths will prove that you are willing, to be honest, and humble and can communicate a host of attractive characteristics to a potential employer, partner, or contact.”

Constantly Reassess

As we noted at the beginning, a key to success as we move into the future will be fostering adaptability and flexibility and leveraging them to move into new positions. There’s value in proactively making sure that your skills, experience, and connections all work together to give you the best possible chances of achieving the career goals you plan.

Additionally, it’s crucial to constantly reassess your progress and use that information to steer your career in the right direction. Are you doing what you can with the understanding that the things that have gotten you where you are, are unlikely to get you where you want to go?

If there are areas of your career development that are growing stale or lack any recent changes, brainstorm on ways to foster growth there.

Lastly, in the interest of a reassessing your competitiveness in relation to your plans, actually set goals. Make plans for the next quarter, year, and three years and reassess your progress and attitude towards those goals on a consistent basis.

Certainly, the day when seniority meant you were essentially a shoo-in for the corner office is gone. Today rapid changes in technology are impacting virtually every industry under the sun, and the jobs that make up those industries are evolving at rapid rates.

However, the key for young professionals seeking success is not to allow themselves to be drug along by the rapid advances, but to proactively participate in them. The new age of job creation and retention has provided new opportunities. Because there’s often a need for people who don’t have direct experience, the individuals who land the jobs are often those who worked hard on what may have traditionally seemed like secondary things like relationships, soft skills, and flexibility. The good news is that those things are there for the taking.

4 Killer Pieces Of Advice For Early-Career Millennials

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Starting in the real world of offices and colleagues is never straightforward. There’s a lot to learn in a short time, and college isn’t the greatest nursery. For millennials, it’s twice as difficult because there are new rules that often conflict with the old ones. You have to focus on your career but not to give it too much thought, or make friends and socialize yet keep everyone at a distance.

Frankly, it’s exhausting, especially when you throw technology into the mix. How you measure your career is a personal decision, but in this new world, these tips might be able to help. Here are four things to remember in your early career.

Realize The Ladder Doesn’t Exist

Nope, this isn’t a budget sociology class posing as a helpful career post. The reality is the ladder that your parents and grandparents tried to climb doesn’t exist any longer. What people want from a job is changing all of the time, which is why it’s wrong to see it as either up or down. You can as easily move to the side or diagonally nowadays depending on your needs. Hopping from role to role to gain experience or boost your wage is perfectly acceptable, as is going backwards for happiness’ sake.

Embrace Your Quirks

Back in the day, somebody who wasn’t on the same page would be an outcast, a pariah. Like witches were burned at the stake, entrepreneurs were shunned from the boardroom. Thankfully, the culture is changing as peers, colleagues and bosses realize the importance of a different point of view. Therefore, your “quirky” outlook might make you the go-to person for a second opinion. Lots of millennials can carve out a lane by embracing the features which are dissimilar to everyone else’s. All you need is the courage of your convictions.

Be Ready To Jump

Technology has reached a level now where it’s possible to start a company from your bedroom. And, millennials are the best placed to take advantage because they understand the modern market, as well as the computer software. Look at how Spiegel and Zuckerberg created social media platforms and made billions. Do you think they saw the question “what does LLC mean?” and got scared? No, they did their research, believed in themselves, and took a leap of faith. Forget about your age and level of experience: if there’s an opportunity, grab it with both hands.

Never Sacrifice Happiness

Because there is no need to in the 21st century. As modern leaders of industries start to set the rules, there will be less emphasis on sitting behind a desk and clocking in and out. Today, there are lots of remote opportunities which don’t include working in an office. Not only that, but there are chances to balance your life outside of the office with the workplace, such as flexible hours. And, lots of businesses let their employees chip in with ideas on causes which are important to the world.

Put these features up there with how much the position pays when searching for a job. You deserve it.

How to Further Your Management Career

If you have dreams of managing hundreds or thousands of employees at a large firm or want to eventually run your own big business, it’s important to grow yourself as a leader. This is the case whether you’re currently in a management position, or want to be in the future.

The people who further their careers in management don’t stay static. Instead, they keep developing new goals to achieve and look for promotions to pursue and additional skills to learn along the way to make them more desirable as leaders. If you want to further your management career over the coming weeks, months and years, read on for some key steps you can take to make it happen.

Know Where You Want to Go and Create a Plan

To begin with, you need to know where you want to go with your management career. Take time to become clear about your goals, so you don’t inadvertently find yourself stuck in a dead-end job. You should have both short-term and long-term aspirations in mind.

The goals you set could relate to the size of the team you want to lead, what type of business you want to work at, how much you want to earn per year and other factors. Regardless of what you wish for, by getting clear on your desired results, you will be better able to come up with strategies to make them happen and avoid wasting your time and energy on the wrong paths.

Once you have a direction to head in, create a plan for your career. Think about what kinds of activities you can do now and into the future, which will help you get where you want to go. When designing your plan, consider elements such as your values, interests, experience, skill set, special talents and mission, as well as the industry you’re in and the trends you can see in it.

Keep Learning and Growing Your Network

To be the best manager possible, you must also find ways to keep learning. Top achievers are always those people who improve and don’t rest on their laurels. You must develop new skills and keep broadening your knowledge over time. This will help to make you much more appealing to businesses that are after top managers.

To grow yourself, consider enrolling in a relevant management degree, such as an AACSB-accredited online MBA. During this kind of study, you’ll not only learn about different management styles and techniques, as well as tips on running an organization, but you’ll also likely meet a variety of interesting, like-minded people who can be key contacts for you during your career. Growing your network is vital if you want to get to the top of your industry.

On top of university studies, also consider developing yourself and your relationships by attending relevant trade shows, conferences and other industry events; joining business associations and clubs; attending short courses and talks; and networking on social media. You can also grow by finding a mentor to guide and teach you and by reading magazines, books, papers, blogs, newsletters and the like.

Find Ways to be Proactive

When it comes to becoming a well-respected, sought-after manager, you must demonstrate plenty of initiative. To get to the top as a leader, you need to go after opportunities and continually think about ways in which you can be proactive to make things happen.

For example, don’t be too scared to ask for what you want. If you are eyeing a higher management role in your current company, make sure your bosses understand that you’d like to be promoted. Bring up your aspirations and ask them what you need to do to get there.

While you might worry that being bold like this could be taken negatively, such as you being pushy, the fact is that as long as you are assertive rather than aggressive and have been working hard and seem committed to the firm, your superiors are likely to be relieved to hear you want to advance. Many employers are often searching for people they can promote and develop and will be thrilled that you are putting your hand up for new and more challenging responsibilities. Once they know what you want to achieve, they can keep you in mind for future positions and other career-making opportunities.

Thinking Outside Of The Box To Propel Your Career Forward

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If you want to take another step up the career ladder, then you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can in your current role to propel your career forward. One effective way to do this is by thinking outside of the box. You know what they say: life starts outside of your comfort zone. Here’s how you can begin thinking outside of the box to improve your career almost right away:

Start Making Little Changes To Your Routine

Every time you do something, whatever it may be, your brain is strengthening pathways to help you perform that task more effectively. This works for both negative and positive actions. So, if you procrastinate most days, you’re only going to feel inclined to do it more and the habit will be tough to break. Similarly, if you talk to the same people and do the very same things, you’re going to have the same thoughts. Thinking different thoughts is the key to bringing new and creative ideas to the table. It really can make a difference. These small changes could make big things happen.

Good Media Only

There’s all kinds of media out there, and for some reason, people choose to only absorb the negative stuff. Stop watching rubbish TV. You don’t even have to read a book on business, if you don’t want to. Choose a great story and relax by reading that instead. Maybe listen to a different genre of music to see how that resonates with you. Stimulating materials will help you to become more creative.

Make Sure You Have Time To Think

Being productive doesn’t mean moving or doing something all the time. You can be productive just by thinking productive thoughts. If you take time to yourself, to think in a situation where you don’t feel pressured, or even to meditate, you may find that you come up with effective solutions for things. You may come up with a lower friction solution for misaligned rotation that you’ve been looking for for weeks, or another great idea that you know will stand you in good stead with your boss. However, to do this you can’t be ‘busy’ all the time.

Focus – No Multitasking

Ban multitasking from your vocabulary. It can actually slow you down, rather than make you more productive, like many people think. Focus on one task without distractions – that means putting your phone in another room, and even stopping your email notifications.

Connect With Your Boss

If you can build a rapport with your boss, do it. Don’t be ‘bosses pet’ as this isn’t a good idea if you want to continue a relationship with fellow employees either. Simply develop a positive relationship, and you’ll feel more confident to present your unique ideas.

Using these ideas to make changes to your day to day life will definitely help you to switch things up and take your career further. Do you have any suggestions you think will help readers? Leave your own thoughts below!