Marathon or sprint?

Leading recruitment experts discuss the best ways to prepare a
long-term career plan

marathon1


When planning your future, it is important to take your long-term goals and ambitions into account. Where do ultimately want to be in your career? What steps can you take today to get you one step closer to achieving that goal?

Career planning is useful for students and graduates, as well as people looking to develop their skills or change jobs or professions.

'Your employer should help you visualise a career path and highlight the opportunities that are open to you within your current organisation,' says Nikki Turberville, manager at Michael Page Financial Service.

'A career plan will help you to stay focused on what you really want and make sure that you are developing the right skills and experience to get you there.

'People who plan ahead are generally more likely to make good choices when establishing their careers and are rewarded with the opportunity to become successful more quickly.'

Realistic goals

Most trainees are ambitious and have a desire to further their careers as quickly as possible. This can, however, have a detrimental effect if you set yourself unrealistic goals, which could result in frustration and disillusionment if you don’t achieve what you set out to achieve.

'To manage your own expectations it is vital you understand what an achievable career path looks like and whether the organisation can offer what you are looking for,' says Joss Collins, a financial services specialist at Venn Group.

'You may have to accept some compromises along the way and it may result in getting as far as you can in one company before seeking your next role elsewhere. The balancing act is to make this move at the right time and not to be seen by future employers as somebody who moves around too much with no real progression.

'Make sure you discuss your development with your managers and that they know what you would like to achieve so you can both work together to develop your career within an agreed timeframe and in line with key deliverables.'

Continual learning

A successful career is not developed overnight; it requires continual learning and upskilling to progress in your career. In fact, the average age of the FTSE100 CEOs is 54 years old.

'When you are considering your career and where you want to be in the future you will need to think about how to get there,' says Karen Young, director at Hays Accountancy & Finance.

'Achieving your goals takes time, dedication, practice and planning – much like a marathon.

'Don’t forget to ask managers and colleagues for their guidance. A mentor can often help and provide a valuable external perspective on your career path, and they may give you ideas, such as for secondments or specific projects that could help your career. International experience may be particularly beneficial.

'Our DNA of a finance director research revealed that over a third of finance directors had international experience and nearly all of them feel this benefited their career.'

Finally, remember that it is a journey – and there are lots of great jobs to enjoy along the route to the top, so take the time to enjoy gaining skills and experience along the way.

"Make sure you discuss your development with your managers and that they know what you would like to achieve so you can both work together to develop your career within an agreed timeframe and in line with key deliverables"

Joss Collins - Venn Group