Developing Career Strategies

Jan 11th, 2010 | By | Category: Career advice

The goal of the PracticaL Mentor is to provide advice and a forum on career issues and challenges.  Often when a workplace issue arises, there is no place to turn for sound advice.  The PracticaL Mentor is an open forum to gather information and ideas that may be helpful in developing a successful action plan.  Although many situations are similar there is seldom a one size fits all solution.  One of the keys to developing a successful action plan is correct analysis.  The PracticaL Mentor will provide a forum to pool resources to produce analytical tools that may be applied to various issues encountered in the workplace.  Although the advice and ideas developed by the PracticaL Mentor are presented in good faith careful consideration should be given in using this information.

Developing a strategy is a valuable tool in achieving your career goals. One of the definitions of strategy is a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result: a strategy for getting ahead in the world. ( The idea of developing strategies was barrowed from the military as a way to combine the multiple facets that must be considered to achieve an objective. Strategies are high-level guidelines that set the stage to develop action plans to address the issues that must be met for success.  Strategies, in my mind, are not detailed, but contain broad concepts that will be used to develop detailed plans. For example, in setting a career strategy one may include in the strategy that all action plans must be ethical.  This would help set the boundaries of the actions and tactics that may be employed to achieve a goal.  The idea of strategy can be applied at any level and is a useful analytical tool to help frame the objective and the action plan.  Other elements of a career strategy may be the talents, tactics, and resources required to climb your career ladder.

A career strategy should be broad in scope.  In developing a career strategy the objectives should be defined in a manner to be able to gage if the strategy is appropriate and if adjustments are required.  Always keep in mind career strategies are for the long term.  Most of the elements of a strategic plan are good for the long haul and require little tweaking.  There are instances where some of the more actionable strategies must be adjusted.  For example, the 1999 dot com melt down and the 2009 financial crisis where real game changers and required adjustments to many career strategies. On a personal level changes occur that may require adjustments to a career a strategy, although many of the core elements of the strategy remain valid.  When a strategy needs adjusted care should be taken not to overreact to the reason for requiring change. Although the 1999 dot com meltdown had a huge impact on the job market and investment portfolios, the country recovered and many new opportunities were created.  We are still in the midst of the 2009 financial crisis, but the country will recover.  However, several sectors of the economy will be permanently affected.  This will most likely require adjustments in career strategies.

A well-developed career strategy will serve as an anchor to keep you on course as you progress with your career.  Research and analysis are required to develop a good career strategy.  First you have to determine what you want to do.  Then a SOWT  (strength, opportunities, weakness, and threats) may help determine the talents, skills, education, etc. required. Another consideration is the projected growth of a chosen career field.  This is tricky for we have seen the US go from a manufacturing giant to a services oriented economy.  How do you predict what will rise from the ashes of the current economic meltdown.  Perhaps a career strategy should not be narrowly focused on a specific segment of the current economy.  This would require a more general or flexible strategy and the development of a more general skill set.  There are professions and skills that are common to most industries and technology is creating the demand for new skills and creative ideas as the Internet and technology continue to unfold.

A career strategy may also include how you will conduct yourself in the workplace.  It is important to mesh your personality, our personality and the workplace environment. Choosing a demeanor that is compatible with the work environment will help establish rapport and acceptance with management and coworkers.  Each situation is different and may require some adjustment and even core values may evolve over time.  Career strategies may require updating, and in some cases a complete overall as situations change.  However it is important to stay in tune with your core values

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Thank you

The PracticaL Mentor

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