According to a recent poll from Gallup the new generation of the workforce is more likely to switch jobs – compared to previous. And even if you are not a Millenial, it is likely that you will change career several times during your work life.
In other words: Lifelong careers and a single profession don’t seem to be the norm anymore. And this calls for career planning. Creating a path by mapping your values, preferences, weighing your options and setting goals – and having a strategy for how to reach them.
“A career is not a thing, it’s a journey. You don’t have it – you build it forward. It’s necessary to design your career in order to be in charge of it,” says Agata Mathiasen, leadership and career coach, at IME Singapore.
The journey begins with yourself – and having self-awareness. This will help you discover the market and clarify where you are and where you want to go.
“The cornerstone is self-awareness. Your skills may change – but your values and purposes don’t change drastically,” the career coach explains.
Plan a few years ahead
Building your career is a lifelong journey, and your career plan can be modified as often as you need. When you have a plan, you are able to adapt and build up the skills that you have, layer upon layer. This approach will similarly help you explore career opportunities that you couldn’t foresee.
“With a plan you can be more creative. By taking risks, you take opportunities. And if you have a plan – it’s an opportunity,” Agata Mathiasen says.
In her Design Your Career Module of IME Mini MBA she helps the students apply another mindset: “Dream big and be bold – and strategically design your career.”
Her advice is to look no more than 3-5 years ahead, when it comes to designing your career. Simply because the world changes so rapidly, and you can’t necessarily plan where you are in 10 years, but maybe you have an idea about where to be in, say, the next 2 years.
Passion is more important than skills
When you have determined what you want the next step in your career to look like, your can start focusing on what is your need to get there: Is it experience, new skills or maybe a promotion at your current job?
Your starting point is normally inside-out, so start by looking at who you are: Skillset, interests, values, purpose and meaning. Then look at where you are in the market. For this part it is important not to look at where you want to go – but where you are right now. This is if you really have a purpose and a burning desire.
But your approach could also be outside-in, where you look at the possibilities the market has to offer in a more strategic way.
No matter your starting point, Agata Mathiasen (on the photo) points out the importance of not committing a common mistake:
“People believe that skills are more important than purpose and values. We make choices based on what we can do – and not what we like to do.”
We often make career decisions when we are 16-20 years old. And at that point in time we might be good at something that we don’t actually like. In the long run, the ones that do what they love, will always outperform the ones, that chose their career based on what they were good at – and not necessarily like.
Build your brand
But don’t forget to look at the reality when designing your career. There are limitations. With severe colour blindness you can not become a pilot – no matter how badly you want to.
Next step is to map out the pathway on how to get from A to B. What are your strengths and where are the gaps? Make sure to acquire the skills and don’t forget to build your brand on the way.
Think of yourself as a business with a service to sell and also consider what your strategy is for marketing your value in a workplace.
Finally make sure to review your career plan regularly. This will make your better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career. Steer your career deliberately, but make sure to take advantage of opportunities that arise, when life shows you new career adventures – even if they don’t match the destination you had in mind exactly.
BIO - AGATA MATHIASEN
Coach, Intercultural Facilitator, Leadership & Organizational Development Consultant, Psychologist, IME Expert in Design Your Career
Agata works primarily as coach, intercultural facilitator and trainer and has more than 15 years of professional experience within HR and Learning & Development in a global setting. Currently, she heads her own consultancy working as a career coach at INSEAD and an executive coach in leadership transitions. As facilitator, she provides intercultural training and addresses clients’ business needs associated with working globally. She also delivers tailored development solutions for individuals, teams and organizations centered around topics such as leadership, organizational and commercial effectiveness and competence development in order to ensure optimal organizational performance to accomplish corporate strategic goals in multicultural settings. Agata holds a Master’s degree in Psychology, with focus on business psychology as well as life span development psychology. She is a certified Management Trainer and Coach.