Preparing for a career move requires careful planning. Don’t leave it to fate – with the steps below you can create a development plan that will help you identify your options and take the next steps in your career. Remember that your PDR is a great place to start a career conversation.
To identify your strengths points, start with the selection criteria for your current role. They define the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for your job. Make a list of the skills you have and highlight the areas where you think you make a contribution.
Ask a critical friend what you do well and what they value in you. Request feedback on what you could change.
Review your last PDR and the objectives that are listed. Think about what they tell you about your strengths and where you can improve.
Ask your manager and/or your network for feedback.
Find potential areas for improvement: Where do you feel you could be more confident, skilled or knowledgeable? Identify situations and tasks you find challenging and where you would like to enhance your skills for a future role.
Make a list of what you find inspiring in your professional as well as your personal life. Think about what motivates and enthuses you. In what kind of role or environment do you think you would flourish?
Define what is most important to you, and think about how your values have led you to define your boundaries and shaped your career so far. What matters most to you about your future role? These could be more responsibility, work-life balance, change of direction or a job that is better suited to your strengths.
Oxford’s Career Weaver can help you explore these questions. It provides a variety of short exercises to help you identify your values and work preferences, name your strengths, identify your skills and understand your motivations at work.
Now that you have assessed your strengths, it is time to review your options. There may be more than you think. These steps will help you consider the possibilities.
1. Set your priorities
Ask yourself what you would like your job or career to give you now and in 1- or 5-years’ time (or another timeframe - the choice is yours). Consider aspects like personal satisfaction, challenges, reputation, and monetary reward.
2. Find roles that interest you
Start looking at possible roles and collect adverts for jobs that appeal to you. Save the role description and the selection criteria for those jobs. You can look at
If you don’t know where to start, ask a critical friend, your network, your manager or mentor to help you consider options.
Talk to people who know about the roles that interest you. Ask them about what the role involves and the routes others have taken to get where they are. You may be able to find these people through your network. Reach out to your friends and colleagues and ask if they can put you in touch with someone who can help.
3. Do a gap analysis
Match your strengths and your skills against the requirements of the roles you are considering. Identify any gaps in your skill set.
Don’t be put off by gaps. Think widely about your experience. Draw on previous roles and voluntary or social experience that could demonstrate that you match the role. Remember an excellent match on all the essential criteria may not be necessary. In many instances, good enough will do. You may even use the scope for learning and personal development as evidence for your motivation.
Writing down a detailed plan makes it more likely that you will achieve your goal. Here is a list of steps to follow when you are creating your plan:
Look for support to help you put your plan into action. Here are some options:
One to one support
Places on a programme
Many of us will spend more time in a year planning a holiday than we do planning our career.
Here are some tips to help you put your plan into action:
Would you benefit from having a mentor to help you with an internal job application or an interview?
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