Career Planning Part 3: Building Your Skills

Career Planning Part 3: Building Your Skills

So you’ve done the basics and conducted some research. By this time you should have a good idea of where you’re heading and develop your skills. Now is the time to look back and evaluate how you experience informs your career choice and look forward to see what steps need to be made to achieve your goals.

What relevant experience and qualifications do you already have?

You may be building on the career that you have had for 20 years or you may be in need of a total change. Either way this is a good time to conduct a skills review. Dig out your most recent CV and compare it against the ideal role and the ideal employer you identified in Part 2. Likelihood is that it will need considerable adjustment. If you want to take your existing career to the next level think about what a person at that level’s CV would look like. What differences are there with your own? Jot them down. If you’re having a complete change it might be good to find some examples of CVs in your chosen field.

Once you have an idea of what you’re aiming for go back to your current CV and try to align your existing skills. It’s likely that you’ll be left with a few gaps and this is where the next stage comes in.

Transferable Skills and Experience

Just because you haven’t planned a wedding before doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills to be a wedding planner. How many meetings have you arranged, how many conferences even? Did you organise your parent’s golden jubilee party? If you want to be a sales person, that job in a call centre you did in the summer holidays was experience in dealing with customers. If you want to retrain as a boatbuilder you may even refer to your childhood obsession with woodwork. Essentially it’s important to value your experience and skills. You may decide it’s not appropriate to mention them on your CV but at least keep them in mind. By this time you will probably become aware of the real gaps in your CV stopping you pursuing your dream career.

Developing yours skills and qualifications

Knowing what you don’t know is a great place to be! This is the point at which you progress. There are a multitude of avenues to go down to develop new skills nowadays. You no longer need to spend endless evenings in the FE centre study for qualifications. All the main professional bodies (ACCA, CIM etc) offer online certifications, LinkedIn Learning offer a vast array of affordable software training courses and remember you can gain academic and professional qualifications at home with the Open University. Don’t dismiss YouTube either! If you’re planning a move towards a trade like carpentry or plumbing there’s a huge amount of knowledge to be gained for free via expert videos.

Try to balance a methodical approach to obtain the skills you need to progress your career whilst also conducting more general research to develop you overall knowledge of the field. Always remember that with hard work and a bit of determination you can achieve great things!