Have you started your career planning yet? No matter which year you are studying in, you’d better start getting yourself prepared for your future career as early as you can. It is never too early, before it is too late, to do so. Leave yourself abundant time to find out what your competency gap is, get equipped, and be ready to excel!
Career Planning Cycle
A Career Planning Cycle can be divided in 4 stages:
Stage 1 – Self Understanding
- Know yourself: preferably through an objective psychometric test, what are your current and potential abilities, personal interests and behavioural tendencies.
- Find out specifically whether the “significant others” (e.g. your classmates, professors, summer-job co-workers, friends, family members, etc.) agree or disagree with your own self-perception of your abilities, preferences and characteristics and to what extent.
Stage 2 – Understanding of Job Market
Investigate what professions/jobs best match your abilities, preferences and characters before you leave the university and explore the job nature and requirements of the career that you are interested in and suitable for at the same time. You probably need help from alumni, career advisors to provide you with information about the real workplace. The internet may be yet another important resource to turn to.
Stage 3 – Goal Setting
- Determine what you wish to achieve in short, medium and long-term periods.
- Identify the skill sets that help achieve your goals, and/or are required to fulfill these goals.
- Plan carefully what you need to equip or enhance to fill the gaps.
- Mark all these clearly in a table and review the items regularly.
- It is likely that you will modify them from time to time while you have better understanding of yourself and Job Market.
Stage 4 – Career Preparation
Make conscientious efforts to acquire the necessary skills or experience, so as to be fully prepared once opportunities arise. Undertaking an internship, for example, is a very effective way to discover the job first-hand. You will have an early taste of the field while establishing network relevant to your career interest. It brings you one big step closer to your career goal.