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It’s easier to envisage more success in life, both personally and professionally, if you plan for it. It is similar to considering the lifestyle you want in retirement and devising ways to grow your superannuation to achieve this.
Planning your future can mean less time in unrewarding jobs that are not a good fit, and potentially save you money on education or training that are of little benefit.
While plans are rarely set in stone, to formulate your career plan a good starting point is setting long-term goals or objectives. Do this by considering your personal and professional aspirations and writing down what success looks like to you. Aim high, but also be realistic because unachievable goals can be demotivating.
If you cannot identify a specific job you want, think about more general goals, such as what industry you would like to work in and what salary you want. It’s highly likely your goals will change as you progress in your life and career.
According to Hays Specialist Recruiters, the SMARTER system can be useful in planning career goals.
Specific – be as clear as you can and avoid ambiguous statements.
Measurable – quantify what you have already achieved.
Achievable – push yourself but also keep goals within reach.
Realistic – be reasonable and keep your goals attainable.
Timely – create timelines for completing steps such as developing industry contacts.
Empowering – be sure your goals are a good fit and help you make changes you want.
Reviewable – keep your goals flexible.
Once you have clearly defined career goals, start working towards them using resources available to you. This may include networking groups, personal contacts, LinkedIn, referees and recruitment consultants.
Ask for advice from people who have already travelled your career path, as this can give you valuable insights into what may and may not work. You could even volunteer in your chosen field to see if it is the right fit for you.
As technology changes and automation in the job market steadily grows, it is a smart idea to make decisions on your future using hard data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, according to Professor Peter McIIveen from the University of Queensland.
He says ‘trustworthy and consistent’ data is freely available through the Labour Market Information Portal and has a range of projections. This includes a five-year option that reveals which industries are going to have the greatest growth in the labour market and those that are going to contract.
In addition, Prof McIIveen says the traits of adaptability, resilience and empathy will be invaluable in the future, as will having an optimistic disposition in regards to learning and developing new skills.
Once you have firm yet realistic goals you should adopt a can-do, enthusiastic attitude. Without it your journey may not be as enjoyable or as successful. Keep in mind career planning works best if you measure your progress along the way.
Putting in a solid effort now may mean working in a job you love in the future, as well as setting you up financially for your best retirement.
Planning your best future means being invested in outcomes today. Take the time to learn more about QSuper or your QSuper account.
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1. QSuper Balanced Option only. SuperRatings SR50 Balanced Index (60-76) median based on cumulative returns compounded annually after fees and for initial $50,000 invested over the period to 28 February 2019. Based on funds open to the public. Past performance may not be a reliable indicator future performance.
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