Career Planning - Careerlogues
Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values.
— Peter Drucker

If you are reading this blog, chances are you fall into one of these three categories:

  • You are currently enrolled in a course at the University
  • You've graduated from University. Started or completed your NYSC and are on the market for a job.
  • You are currently employed, but interested in leveling up your skills and leveraging your current expertise for future opportunities. 

You're also interested in learning how to build a successful career and excel in the workplace. Careerlogues is committed to partnering with you on this journey by providing content, practical advice and resources to support your professional development goals.

Think of your career as a house. You build it one brick at a time, starting with a design. What do you want to do?  Some people figure this out early in their careers. For the rest of us, it happens later in the journey.

Related post: How to Define your Career on your Terms.


Defining your Career Path


The first step to defining your career path is to do a self assessment. Where are you in your career journey? In school? Graduated from University? NYSC? Looking for a job? Working? Start by acknowledging where you are at the moment.

What do you want to do? 

If you are working/NYSC, look at the requirements of your job. Do you like the daily tasks associated with your job? Are you working in the field of your choice? Will you rather be doing something else? If yes, what would that be? What are your interests? What inspires and motivates you?

For University students, what are you studying? What courses excite you? Which subjects would you do away with? What are your interests? What inspires and motivates you?


 

To get the most out of this content, download the Career Planning Workbook and jot down answers to the questions in the post.

 

Skills Matter


The next step is to understand your strengths in relation to the career you've selected.

  • What skills are needed to excel in your chosen industry?
  • What skills do you currently possess?
  • What do you need to learn?

Education is important. However, employers are also interested in the skills you bring to the table.

  • Do you possess the knowledge required for the job?
  • Are you computer literate? Do you know how to use Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.).
  • Are you skilled at business communication? Can you do research and write a business report and do a well thought out presentation?
  • Are you emotionally intelligent? How do you interact with colleagues and manage relationships in the workplace, as well as external clients?
  • Are you a problem solver and solution oriented?
  • Critical thinking and analysis is another key skill that employers look for.
  • Organization and time management
  • Superior client and customer service

The point is, in addition to learning the theory behind your intended practice, employers expect you to hit the ground running when you get hired. Take the time to learn relevant skills that will help you put your best foot forward.


Ideal Work Style and Environment


How do you work? What kinds of environment motivate you to do your best work?

Are you passionate about social justice and making a difference in the world? If yes, you may wish to focus on working with nonprofits, NGO, and social enterprises. 

If you love innovation, technology, business, training, etc., you may be better suited for consulting, entrepreneurship and working at a startup.

Some people thrive in a team environment where people collaborate with one another. Others shine in a competitive environment. They love the thrill of going head to head with colleagues and coming out on top. 

Some may love to work in quiet spaces, away from the noise and bustle of the office. While others love the social aspects of the workplace, engaging in conversations and office chatter.

Would you like to travel for work? Are you a homebody?

These questions will go a look way in helping you figure out If you'll fit into the culture of the company interviewing you for a job.


Building Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)


A CV is a document that contains your educational qualifications, work experience, leadership and achievements, and other credentials or professional certifications. Most employers require every job employer to submit a CV during the job application process. 

To build your CV, you need to have work experience and credentials to add. How do you get those? By chasing the right opportunities starting from your time in University.

Internships, Volunteering and Part Time Jobs:

Internships, volunteering and part time jobs are a great way to get experience while you are in University and after you graduate. Services like Stutern and Sesewa have made it easier for students and graduates to be matched with employers.

An internship allows you to learn the tools of the trade with no added pressure of perfection upon resuming at the company.

Spend your summer breaks and ASUU strikes doing an internship, working part time or volunteering at a company. 

Related Post: Six Ways to Position Yourself for an Internship

NYSC:

NYSC is an underutilized avenue to level up on your skills. Your location and Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) may not be your preference, but NYSC is usually a low key year for most people. Spend that time fulfilling the requirements of the service year and building a robust portfolio for yourself.

Lead or partake in community development opportunities. Lead one of the NYSC community development groups. Organize corp members for a volunteer service day that benefits the host community. Coordinate a training or workshop. 

Take the time to explore your interests: Marketing, design, coding, web development, etc. NYSC is a great time to level up on your skills. Research these topics. Take a free certification course online. 

Investing in these activities makes you a better professional and they can also be added to your CV.

Free Download: Need a starter CV template? Download the easy to edit beginner template. These templates are better suited for interns and new graduates.

Work Experience:

When you finally get your first full time job , your goal should always be to add value. Your achievements on the job will help you stand out from other candidates during the search for your next opportunity.

  • Have a strong work ethic
  • Be results and solution oriented
  • Qualify and quantify your deliverable and meet deadlines
  • When you've mastered your current tasks, seek opportunities for growth
  • Invest in learning and professional development activities. Don't let your skills go stale
  • Keep up with trends in your industry. Stay ahead of the curve

These same rules are applicable to internships, part time jobs, and volunteer opportunities.

Leadership and Taking Initiative:

Employers are impressed by leadership in extracurricular activities. Step up for leadership while in school. Lead a departmental association. Run for a position on the student union government. Become the editor of the University newspaper.

Will your University benefit from a student led training initiative? Establish a committee that will provide the solution. Look for ways to add value.


Conclusion


Career planning and development is a lifelong endeavor. The people who excel are those who take the time to figure out what they want to do, set goals, understand how they work, and work relentlessly to make their dreams a reality. They make their professional development a priority, recognizing and seizing opportunities for growth.

Like a house, careers are built one brick at a time. Start building, today.

Cheers!

M.