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Career Advice

4 Ways To Plan Your Career Path Now

Posted by Heather Huhman

July 31, 2013

As Stephen Covey would say, when planning out your career, you always want to think with the end in mind. This means paying attention to how today will affect your ultimate goals. Every action you take and each relationship you build will impact your future self down the road. While it's very important to look ahead when planning your career, it's also necessary to think about how living in the moment will help you accomplish your career goals.

Plan NowTake a moment to think about where you are in your career today. Are you a recent college graduate looking for an entry-level position? Have you been in your career for more than a decade, but you're looking for a new start? Wherever you are in your current path, it's important to pay attention to your daily actions and how they will impact the future of your career.

Sometimes when planning your career, it's easy to forget about living in the moment. Whether you’re concerned about reaching a particular goal or landing your dream job, you must live in the moment to effectively plan out your career. The people you meet and the events that take place each day can change your career in a blink of an eye. When you become too focused on looking ahead into the future, you can miss out on valuable opportunities taking place in the present moment. Before you know it, you would have missed a great opportunity that could have changed your career!

What are you doing today to set yourself up for success in the future?

If you're searching for your first job or you're looking to change jobs, what are you doing every day to help advance your career? Are you taking the time to develop your personal brand? Are you making the most of relationships that cross your path? When planning your career, it's important to understand how your daily career habits can affect your overall career.

Especially if you are searching for employment, it’s extremely important to carry yourself with confidence and to have a positive attitude. The way you present yourself every day can impact the connections you make. It’s also important to continue to develop your career, even if you are unemployed. By investing time every day in developing your professional image, you will begin to lead yourself to more opportunities.

What does opportunity mean to you?

As you plan out your career and search for opportunities to gain experience, where do you look? Do you wait for opportunities to come your way or do you make them happen for yourself? Believe it or not, opportunities can happen at any time, but you have to make yourself available for doors to open. If you are preoccupied thinking about the future, you can miss the opportunities that are happening today. When you become blinded by what you expect out of your future, an opportunity for a new job or promotion could simply slip away from your hands. Therefore, you should always be looking for an opportunity everywhere you go and making the most of the connections you have.

Choose a productive habit to do everyday to set yourself up for success.

Make it your goal to do something productive for your career every day. For example, make it a goal to read one career development book per month or to wake up early three times a week to exercise for thirty minutes. By taking these little steps each day, you will develop new habits that will set you up for success down the road. Not only will you improve yourself as a professional, but you will continue to learn what you want out of your career and develop your goals. Plus, by adding positive habits to your daily routine, you will notice yourself increasing productivity and a positive self image.

Be proactive with your career goals.

If your career goals include climbing the ladder in your profession or simply finding a rewarding job, do something every day to work towards accomplishing your career goals. It's important to find a balance between looking ahead into the future of your career and being proactive with your career goals in the present. This balance will help you stay focused on finding a new job, gaining more experience, or developing your skills.

Remember, living in the moment when planning your career can play a huge role in your future. Every single action you take and each person you talk to has the potential to change your career in ways you could have never imagined. By living in the moment, you are allowing yourself to be open to new ideas and opportunities, which can lead you closer to the career path you desire.