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A lot can change in a year. 2020 is the perfect example of this. Unforeseen events like the pandemic can throw a wrench into your plans. For millions of Canadians, COVID-19 had a big impact on their career path and goals.
Spending time each year to evaluate your goals can help you stay on track with your career plan. Use these actionable tips to ensure you’re following a realistic and up to date career plan:
assess what has changed
Goals change and so do circumstances surrounding your job and career plans. Spend some time each year assessing what has changed in your life and your career. Do these changes have an impact on your career plan? If so, how? What steps do you need to take?
It’s increasingly common for people to change careers. The pandemic is proof of this. Many people are changing industries and veering down a different path out of necessity. Understanding the variables that have changed will help you take a more realistic look at your career plan.
identify your career options
Based on your current situation, write down a list of your career options. Which actions do you need to take this year to keep your plan on track?
what do you want to accomplish this year?
Is this the year you ask for a promotion or raise? Do you think about moving to another organization? Or perhaps this year the focus is on adding new skills and getting more experience.
Be as specific as possible with what you want to accomplish. For example, if you want to add more skills, do not just write down “add more skills to my resume.” Outline the specific skills you want to acquire. For example, if you work in marketing and want to build more online advertising skills, you can set a goal to get your Google Ads certification.
Based on your career options and what you want to accomplish this year, prioritize the list of actionable steps you need to take.
create a timeline
Establish a timeline for when you want to take specific actions. Be realistic with the amount of time you allot to accomplish tasks. Build in some buffer time to ensure you can accomplish your top objectives for the year.
Write down some loose ideas for 2022. What will the following year look like if you stay on track and accomplish everything you set out to do in 2021? It’s never too early to start thinking in advance.
expect the unexpected
Expect that your career plan will not go 100% as you want it to go. There will likely be something unexpected that will affect your plans, especially considering the unpredictability of the pandemic. But it’s okay. Just be ready to pivot if your plan is affected.
put it on paper
There is a big difference between thinking about a career plan and recording it. Always write down your career plans. Seeing it on paper makes it real. Having a record of your career plans will also give you a reference point to look back on when you make future plans.
talk about your career plans with a trusted individual
Talking about your career plans with a trusted colleague, friend, manager, or even a career advisor is a great way to get some input. You can get additional insights and things to think about that you may not have considered. This can help you shape a more realistic career plan.