Career Action Plan – STEP 1

Written by: Phil Hutchinson-May
Published On: 4 May 2020


Reflecting on your career to date

To start it makes sense to reflect and invest some time to think about your career to date. Which roles have you most enjoyed, what companies have you enjoyed working in? Who has been your best manager or mentor? What are your strengths and when have you been at your happiest?

In my experience spending time to understand your skills and experiences is important. At this time, my advice is to be objective and honest. Maybe a close friend can be there to support. It often helps to share your thoughts and receive candid and straight-talking feedback. A friend or work colleague who knows you well will help you to clearly review and audit your skills and experiences.

Talking with positive, supportive but importantly honest people will provide you with a strong platform on which to build your career plan. This may be a wake-up call, or a chance to energise and move in a new direction or seize a new opportunity. Asking for feedback and taking it on-board is an important step.

In my experience distilling your strengths and experiences into four key points will really help you to understand yourself and then communicate what you can offer a new employer. At this time try and also think about the four criteria you want from your next career move. This will include salary, location, job title and company culture. If you create these two lists of four that will form the bedrock of your career action plan.

You’ll then be in a position to devise your strategy. It’s been said before and it’s true: We are all responsible for our own career development. Sure, people will be there to help and support, but as Thomas B Smith aptly summarised in the title of his 1995 book – “If it is to be it is up to me.”  

With that in mind - where do you want to be? What types of companies will you enjoy working in and given your frank reflections, what type of roles should you apply for?

Also to take on the challenges ahead, you’ll need to be in the right shape mentally and physically. How are you feeling? Is this the right time to start a new exercise or healthy eating regime?

This is an important moment for you and your career so my advice is to take time to reflect and think. This will be valuable time spent and will provide a strong platform on which to build your career plan.

These thoughts are based on my experience working with hundreds of people who have faced similar issues to what you are going through. I hope this has been a useful start and in the next article we’ll look at creating a winning CV.