Strategic career planning is essential for career development, to help ensure that you remain focused. Incorporating strategies into your development can help you be better prepared to face and adapt to any challenges along the way and also keep you engaged in your own personal growth as your career progresses.


Most professionals know they should give serious thought to their next career steps, but they aren’t sure how to navigate the career exploration process. Collecting information about all your options can quickly become overwhelming and hard to sustain along with your current job. What’s more, career exploration is a bit of an emotional roller coaster -- an ever-changing blend of exhilaration, disappointment, anxiety, and hope. If any of these challenges sound familiar, take heart! We are going to explore a process I developed to help clients keep moving steadily forward despite these challenges.

My process is custom-crafted for each client's unique situation, however, a basic framework looks like this..... 


Step 1:  Self-Assessment / Confront Reality 


Development can only be effective if it takes into account the specific needs of the individual in the context of the demands of their current and future roles. This is done through assessment. For strategic career planning, you need to REALLY explore your strengths, and weaknesses as well as what is currently working and what is currently not working.



Step 2:  Identify Your Target Position and Development Needs to Position Yourself Perfectly


It is always easier to follow a path if you know where your final destination is, and your career is no exception. Creating your executive career strategy can be a great time to evaluate your professional goals, understand your skillset and what you may need to work on, or even change directions in your career. It is only after establishing your career targets that you can then embark on a meaningful search for new opportunities.


Step 3:  Map Your Objectives and Goals to Eliminate Your Development Needs

You are ready to start charting out exactly what you will do to address any developmental needs you have in order to be perfectly positioned for your target position,  and the one after that,  and the one after that! 

This process is designed to help you identify the most strategic next steps to meet your objectives, when to execute needed initiatives to meet your objectives, and identification of the needed resources (time, money, etc.) and expected results.


Step 4. Maintain and Extend Your Professional Network


A common mistake made by many executives is to exclude networking from their overall career strategy. Professional networks are not only the life support of your career, but they also take a long time to build. Executives who wait until they are facing a period of transition to frantically contact vague connections will only have limited success.



Step 5: Focus on Your Personal Brand


Your most powerful tool and gateway to new opportunities is your executive resume.  Feedback will be given and writing help can be purchased as well.   Remember, if you are contacted about new career options, this will be the first thing that potential employers will require from you, so having one prepared in advance is an excellent advantage. While updating your resume, you will be forced to re-evaluate your goals and critically assess your skillset. This will make it easier to find new opportunities as you will be more aware of your unique selling points and what you would bring to a new company.



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