Career Planning – 5 Critical Mistakes

By John Groth

Career Planning: What not to do!

You’ve heard a lot about career planning. We’ve may have read what Brian Tracy said about developing career goals, “An average person with average talent, ambition and education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear focused goals.”

About to step on a banana skinWhy then do more people make mistakes at career planning? What do they not do to manage working out a career plan?

First, they have unrealistic goals. They do not break the individual career goal down to manageable bites. If they plan on reading 100 books in two years, it does them little good trying to read all the books in the last weekend before the end of the two years. A manageable goal, for example would be to read two books a month. You can measure it at the end of the month and adjust it as you go along. More likely with this approach you’ll reach and exceed the overall goal of 200 books read in two years.

Also, unrealistic aspirations become more realistic if you check the goals out with your mentors and friends. Moreover, unrealistic career goals are rarely met so the individual gets discouraged and the overall plan becomes ignored and useless.

Second, many work out career plans that have a limited range and scope. They view themselves as only working in one job or type of job. This restricts career options dramatically and can have an effect of reducing overall job satisfaction. Expand your horizons, and work hard to cross-train in other related careers. Learn other skills and you’ll find other opportunities opening for you.

Third, a career plan that is over detailed and leaves no room or time to respond to changes in external or internal circumstances could become a problem. Further, having a laundry list of detailed action items usually means a lack of priorities. This leads to little or no effective action on the career plan.

Fourth, a career plan that depends on others to recognize you skills and potential is doomed to failure. Developing a plan that requires your organization to plan the development and advancement of your career is going in the wrong direction. Career planning and development is your responsibility and your responsibility alone. Your organization may provide resources but it is your responsibility to take the required actions to plan and develop your career.

Fifth, many take unnecessary risks in their lack of career planning. They do not develop proper options nor develop the basic skills and understandings required to move to the next level or to properly prepare themselves to change careers. You should be making informed choices, with proper preparation to assure your career plan develops the planned results.

So we have five main areas that many do not do in planning and managing their careers: (1) They set unrealistic goals; (2) Their career plans have limited range and scope; (3) They have an overly detailed career plan; (4) Their career plan depends on others; and (5) Their lack of a career plan mean they take unnecessary risks with their career and their future.

Paraphrasing what Brian Tracy said earlier in this article, clear focused goals are the key to effective career planning and development. Keep from making the five listed mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to career and future success.

John Groth is a former HR executive and career coach. Find Career Planning Ideas, valuable articles and a free seven day career planning guide. Discover up to date career and recruitment strategies at our Career Planning Guide; all to assist you in advancing and managing your career.

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