Every human being has the right to find and do rewarding and inspiring work. It will help you to find the right job for yourself to plan your career carefully, in a way that gives you an accurate picture of your own skills and knowledge and your possibilities, as well as helping you to chart your objectives and the ways you can promote yourself to the employers. The importance of career planning has increased considerably now that so many jobs are time-limited, part-time or project jobs. Many people change jobs and even professions several times during their life.
The starting point in career planning is collecting the information on yourself. Think of which are your values, your interests, your skills, your weaknesses and the style of life that you want. It is good to be aware of the role of your personal characteristics in your choice of career. Learn also to understand your own physical and intellectual needs. Try to assess realistically, what your work experience and your education right now are sufficient for. Is there need for additional education or courses? Also think of how you could develop your professional skills otherwise.
The next phase is to chart the areas that interest you. In some cases the work you embark on will be the one you do all your life, so it is important to stop to think of what kind of work and what kind of a work environment would be suitable for you. First draft the main lines of work assignments and work environments that interest you, and then find out more about them. Would you like to be a regular employee or a manager? Are you interested in the field of arts, or technology? Or would it be best to start a business of your own, being your own boss? Be realistic about your possibilities, but try not to underestimate yourself. Take into account that not all branches are suitable for all.
An important part of career planning is setting goals. Set yours up high, but even here, remember to be realistic. It is one thing to dream about being Bill Gates, and another to set that as a goal for your career planning. When you set up goals for yourself, you must also be ready to work hard to attain them. Sometimes attaining goals calls for sacrifices.
In setting up goals for yourself, it might be useful to utilise a goal map.
First define a period of time, during which you want to reach your goals. Maximum one year.
Set 1-2 goals for each area of life. Mark them on the map as keywords.
Circle one goal. This is a goal that is very likely to be attained during the time period you have defined. It is now imprinted in your subconscious.
The same way as career planning, goal defining is a process. The goal map should be drawn up twice a year. The first map in the beginning of the year, a follow-up in June-July, when you can make necessary additions or alterations.
Promoting yourself is also a part of your career planning. When you have charted your knowledge and skills and found out which branch you want to work in, it is also time to make employers aware of your merits.
The first phase in promoting yourself is to define, what kind of a job you are looking for. When you have decided that you want to be, say, an export assistant, stick to your goal. Well defined and targeted promotion is much more effective than sending hundreds of applications for different jobs to different firms indiscriminately.
In the second phase, target your promotion campaign right. Look for suitable companies from various sources, for instance from the Internet, journals and magazines in the branch or branch catalogues. The suitable size for a target group in the beginning is ca. 10 companies.
Think separately, in connection with each job, which skills, characteristics and knowledge of yours would be useful when applying for this very job.
Think carefully of how to get in contact with the firm of your choice. Should you send your CV to the personnel department, where it might get lost among tens of others or should you directly get in touch with the department you want to work at? Also it pays to carefully weigh the option of calling up the company, introducing yourself and telling them you are interested in any suitable jobs they may have. Introduce your personality and your knowledge and skills in a selling way in order to wake up their interest.
If you send a written application or a "sales letter", attempt to stand out from the crowd. Many companies receive tens of applications a week, and if you write a standard, impersonal application, you will not stand out. Use visual effects, for instance colour paper, address your letter to a certain person at the company, think of a title line which is noticed. Also show your activity by calling a few days after sending your application, and you will certainly be remembered.
Instead of sending an application you can promote yourself by calling the company by phone or calling personally. Personal visits are advisable to smaller companies rather than big corporations, where the key persons may be difficult to approach personally.
An excellent way to promote yourself is a contact network. Use the contacts of your family, friends and acquaintances, and try to create new networks. You might be surprised how many potential employers you can find just by asking around in your closest environment.
A carefully planned and well implemented marketing campaign will certainly yield several job interviews, in which promoting yourself is a chapter in itself. If it should still be that you are not contacted by anyone, despite all your work, you should revise your marketing strategy, think of what went wrong and plan a new, more efficient campaign.
Employment and Economic Development Office - Ministry of Labour