Strategic Career Planning: How Does It Work?

Strategic Career Planning: How Does It Work?

You have already read about the right time and the definition of goals in career planning in another article, but there is a bit more to strategic career planning. There are also different approaches to how strategic career planning is set up in practice. To begin with, however, we will briefly summarize the topics of timing and goals once again.

Time For Strategic Career Planning

Graduation from school, completion of studies or training, orientation phase during your first job, these are all stages in your professional career that can be used to set up a strategic career plan. In fact, it’s usually only after a year or two on the job that you really get a feel for how a professional life can develop. You’ll meet colleagues with professional experience, get to know things practically that you only heard about in your studies, and develop new skills. In addition to the specific knowledge you acquire, you will also develop assessment skills that will help you with strategic career planning. Important: Start strategic career planning as early as possible and avoid setting yourself up more badly than good. After 20 or 25 years on the job, the options for radical change are fewer.

Goals Within The Framework Of Strategic Career Planning

Do you have a picture of what you might enjoy doing until you retire? What values are important to you? Within the framework of strategic career planning, you derive your goals from your strengths, weaknesses, desires and values and identify open flanks that you still have to close. The definition of goals in strategic career planning includes:

  • Career definition: should it be vertical, horizontal or something else?
  • Work-life balance: How dominant should the job be?
  • What does your concrete desired job profile look like?
  • By when do you want to have reached which stages of your strategic career planning?
  • Which skills and competencies do you still lack to achieve your goals?
  • What action plan can you use to close these gaps?
  • What should your salary development look like?
  • Who can support and promote you?

Take special care here and listen to yourself a lot. It would be unfavorable if your goals turn out to be a mistake in retrospect and you do not feel any fulfillment after reaching them.

Follow-up Of The Strategic Career Planning

Goals must be realistic, achievable and measurable. Any project manager can tell you this, and ultimately strategic career planning is nothing more than a project. You must remain realistic when formulating goals. You have to make sure that your self-perception and the external perception of your environment are largely congruent. For this you need someone who gives you honest feedback. If your environment thinks completely differently of you than you do, then this is usually due to you and not the environment. But then you are on an unrealistic path.

The best thing is to find an experienced colleague as a mentor in your company who can accompany you on your way and give you advice. This can be your boss, but it can also be someone from another department. You can also get an external coach. At regular intervals, you should bring out your strategic career plan and compare the goals with what you have achieved. Which goals have been met? Where were there delays? What were the reasons? What is the best way to take countermeasures? At the end of each review, the strategic career planning is adjusted.

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Linear Strategic Career Planning

The simplest strategic career plan is a so-called linear career plan. In principle, this is nothing more than a timeline in which you enter the individual career steps. Career steps are promotions, salary increases and individual measures to close your competence gaps. This can be, for example, a certain further training or a stay abroad, which is often seen as a prerequisite for a vertical career, especially in large companies. Strategic career planning does not have to be designed to ensure that you achieve everything at your current employer. You can also explicitly plan to change jobs because you want to broaden your horizons or your dream job is in a different industry.

Flexible Strategic Career Planning

Linear planning is risky because, in principle, it does not include a Plan B. A setback throws everything out of whack. Flexible, strategic career planning takes a different approach. You take other aspects into account, such as the time you want to spend with family or hobbies. Especially if you are still unsure after a short time on the job whether you want to pursue a specialist or management career, you should plan on several tracks. But here, too, it is important to plan concrete measures. What will help you get your bearings and identify the right path for you? Maybe you work in a company that offers job rotations or delegations? Participating in such a program could help you. Or you can look for two different mentors as part of a mentoring program, who you can look over your shoulder.

Strategic Career Planning Is A Long-Term Project

Strategic career planning should be started early. Just as in project management, you must define realistic and measurable goals and regularly monitor their degree of achievement. Make sure that you are not alone in your project team, but have a feedback provider.

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