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Planning is vital to any job change. However, most people don't plan their career in any great depth, further than their desire to earn a higher salary.
So what is the solution?
Remember that the onus is on you to create your career vision and to market and sell yourself according to your professional aspirations. A career is not what you find, but what you create.
Become your Profession
A career is something you continuously build rather than a series of isolated jobs and instances. It is about increasing your knowledge and building up a portfolio of skills and experiences that companies both value and require. Too often people forget the building bit and get carried away by their emotions and by what seems a good idea at the time. This is when mistakes are often made – people dive into jobs without assessing the impact that it could have on their career.
So the key is to have a profession. A profession is what you do for a living, what you have spent time training to do or what you want to be doing. It is the crux of the career, giving it meaning, purpose and direction. Without it, a career will come unstuck, reach a halt or start to drift off on a tangent; a difficult track record to sell to an employer, to be sure.
Watch, talk to and draw upon other people's professional knowledge, reputation and skills when planning your career. These people will be experts in their field and will be higher up on the career ladder, so their position, experience and expertise can help you further your own career. So how can these people help?
Focus your energy on building technical and soft skills, learning from the people around you and creating a vision for the future. Become a real expert at your job and remember to sell yourself.