What is the goal of career planning?

I am, of course, all about career planning. You need to at least have a plan. You need your own plan (as opposed to the plans that your employer has drawn up for you).

But a lot of us struggle with the process of career planning. For good reasons. It can be overwhelming! Let’s look at why that is, and the one thing you can do to make career planning much simpler. (Hint: know the real goal or purpose for career planning, which I’ll share with you here).

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3 Types of Career Plans to Try

I do a lot of career planning with my clients, and these are the top 3 options that I return to over and over again. I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each, and how to put each one into practice.

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Bite Size Your Job Hunting Strategy

When you are job hunting, you are bombarded with so many decisions. Where to search, what job titles to search for, what geographical area to target, what you’re qualified for, what you want to do. It’s overwhelming.

And we all know that decision fatigue results in analysis paralysis. It’s real, folks. Analysis paralysis is an affliction that most academics suffer from, seeing as we’re smart and trained to follow every research lede, and analyze (ahem, overanalyze) everything.

So step back from job hunting. Have you broken this down into bite-sized chunks yet?

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Flipping the Script: An Appreciative Inquiry-Based Approach to Career Planning

There are some interesting intersections in my (day job) as a Professional Development Manager and my career coaching. At work today, I was talking about appreciative inquiry theory. This is an approach to organizational and personal development in which we focus on strengths, possibilities, and a future-oriented vision. As you can imagine, it’s far more inspirational and motivating than focusing on problems, weaknesses, and gaps. And it made me think about how powerful that kind of approach could be for career planning, too.

If you think about where you want to get to, rather than how stuck – or miserable – you may currently be, then career planning can become more powerful. Thinking this way helps you think of and build a vision for your own future. And sometimes is what we all need – especially when they are mired in a job or career that stinks. What if you used your happy hour to think about where you could get to, rather than commiserate about how broken it is now?

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Sometimes Going Backwards is the Fastest Way to Move Forward

Often academics looking for work in a new field get immediately frustrated by one big factor: the salary. Why? Because since working in a new field often entails just getting a foot in the door, you may feel like you’re starting over, sometimes even at ground level. And you may be right.

But that can also be a short-term problem, so before you just cross something off your list solely on pay, there are 2 major things to consider.

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