Part 2: Creating your career plan
Career plans come in many forms and can have a multitude of moving parts. But while it’s critical to have a career plan, the details of how you put it together are up to you.
Where you begin depends on where you are in your career and your thought process about the future.
Start at the right point
The process of career planning — regardless of whether or not you create a written plan — includes four main phases:
- Thinking about where you are now.
- Exploring occupations and educational pursuits that interest you.
- Comparing options and narrowing down choices.
- Taking concrete steps toward your goals.
As discussed in Part 1, whether you’re focused on a short-term or long-term goal, time frame plays a role in how you create your career plan.
Creating a short-term career plan
For your short-term plan, the goal is to develop a clear picture of where you’re going in your career over the next few years. Once you have a clear mental picture, you need a plan for making it happen. Consider the following three steps:
1) Identify the next move in your career. If you’re in middle management at a large hotel property, maybe the next step is moving into a general manager role. If you’re already a general manager at a smaller property, your next move might be to become a regional manager.
2) Determine what qualifications you need to move into the desired role. If you’re not sure, check internal job listings or ads, either for your company or for competitors. How do your qualifications match up with the requirements?
3) Make a plan for getting qualified. You may need additional training, certifications or experience. You’ll want to make sure the educational institution you choose offers courses approved by the American Hotel Lodging and Education Institute.
Creating a long-term career plan
When you start looking beyond five years in your career, it’s extremely difficult to pin down details. Category-killing technology [What is this?] is changing entire industries, and hotel management is not immune to the shifts. Still, you should have a roadmap for the future — even if it’s subject to change.
Your long-term plan should include identifying and enhancing your core skills, such as communications, critical thinking, team-building, project management and problem-solving.
Barriers to success
Whether you’re looking at the short or long term, there are several potential pitfalls you must avoid in order to successfully execute your career plan. A few of the most common obstacles include:
- Unrealistic goals
- Family pressure
- Peer pressure
While it’s admirable to be motivated and optimistic, create goals that are realistically within your reach so not to set yourself up for disappointment. Assuming your overall goals are realistic, ensure they are also specific. Break large goals into attainable steps to give yourself some victories along the way.
Feeling a sense of accomplishment can help you overcome barriers that will inevitably arise, whether it’s a family situation or a simple lack of motivation.
Next: Part 3, Resources for creating your career plan.