Mila Semeshkina is Founder and CEO at Lectera.com, Expert in Fast Education
I believe there are two types of people when it comes to career paths: the ones who are constantly moving toward their goals and the ones who are moving past them. To fit in the first and more appealing category, one might consider developing a personalized career trajectory, which is a great way of mapping out your career prospects and determining your main priorities. Instead of focusing on the general aspects of the career, this plan offers a step-by-step guide to achieving your goals within the shortest time possible.
Here are a few things to consider while working on your career plan:
1. Remember: The possibilities are endless.
Nowadays, the classic scenario of people working for one company their entire life while slowly but surely moving up the career ladder is becoming less and less relevant. Rather than relying on the employer for the implementation of their career plan, it’s now the employees themselves who have to take charge of that. With the world changing rapidly, in order to succeed, one has to become more proactive. And this is exactly where your career plan comes into the picture. There are thousands of different paths you can pursue in terms of your future occupation, but the best way to start is by identifying your main priorities.
2. Find your passion.
The sooner you realize what you want to do in life, the sooner you will find the career path that would make you feel fulfilled and help you grow as a person. I’ve found that when you’re doing something you truly enjoy, you hardly notice whether you get tired because the positive emotions that you get from it outweigh the negatives. This, in turn, can give you the motivation to achieve more and do better. Unfortunately, there are only a few people out there who manage to figure out what their dream job is straight away.
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For many people, it isn’t until later in life that they finally realize what their true passion is. One can say that the best indicator or whether you’re moving in the right direction would be that feeling you get when you wake up and think about starting your day.
3. Prioritize education and personal development.
Building a successful career often means investing a lot of time and energy into your personal development. The main focus of such development should be the acquisition of special skills that would eventually help you succeed in your career of choice. So, once you’ve set your main priorities and mapped out your professional future, you might consider seeking short-term yet effective training in that field.
4. Let go of limiting beliefs.
Even today, I’ve seen there are still stereotypes about certain professions, with some of them being considered more “prestigious” than others, more suitable for one gender over another, etc. Forget about all this. The only thing that should matter is whether you like the job. If you do, none of those “limitations” should stop you from making your dreams come true.
Don’t let the idea of starting small discourage you. We all have to start somewhere. Try to get to the root of the problem, and ask yourself, “When all stereotypes are set aside, what is it exactly that’s keeping me from pursuing my dream?” Whatever it is, it will be constantly holding you back unless you finally let go of your fears and let employers see your full potential.
5. Focus on experience over prestige.
One mistake I’ve observed ambitious job seekers make is only focusing on the world’s most famous companies as a career prospect. And while staying goal-oriented is extremely important, sometimes it may be wiser to accept the job you’re being offered here and now. The truth is that most successful businesspeople once started their careers just like you: without a spacious office and personal assistants. For instance, prior to his success as Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos worked at McDonald’s, while investor George Soros worked at a souvenir shop.
At the beginning of your career journey, it’s not the big names written into your resume that matter; rather, it’s how much experience you have. I’ve found the latter is by far the most important thing when it comes to job requirements. A 2017 study of the 100 wealthiest people found that 19% of the world’s richest people started working in a salesperson role. To me, this is hardly surprising, as many might find it much safer and more convenient it is to go through the trial-and-error process while working for someone else, compared to managing one’s own business where every risk could be detrimental.
6. Be adaptable.
From my perspective, the idea of being in total control of our lives and careers is an illusion, with the pandemic serving as an example. There are many unpredictable events we’ll likely face in the future, and the only thing we can do to make it easier is to accept sudden change and try to adjust by using the situation to our advantage.
For instance, Steve Jobs once said getting fired from Apple was “the best thing that could have ever happened.” In his 2005 speech at the University of Stanford, Jobs also told the students, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”