Strategic Planning and Critical Thinking: The Keys to Career and Job Search Success
By Perry Newman
I work extensively with executives and career professionals and for many it is essential that my resumes convey their ability as a strategic planner and critical thinker because these are prerequisites to their landing a new job or internal promotion. Strategic planning and critical thinking are also prerequisites in career planning and conducting a successful job search.
Successful executives and professionals plan strategically, think critically and act decisively. They can see the here and now and at the same time envision what the future will look like if they control circumstances and conditions. Moreover, they are skilled at effectively balancing short term solutions versus long term gains while making swift, decisive decisions based on their facility to gather and analyze relevant information and harness a wide-range of available resources.
From entry level to later career stages everyone in the workplace must be aware of where they are at each juncture and it is imperative to project where we want to be 2 years and 5 years down the road and what is required to get there.
So let me leave you with some points to make you a better career planner and job seeker.
A. Consider your current situation, position and career path and project the steps you need to take to get ahead. Analyze it thoroughly using available data and insights from peers and others you trust, and determine a course of action to reach your desired results. Explore business magazines, trade journals, websites and related publications to keep current with your industry, your peers, and your company's competitors and how they operate.
B. Organize your thoughts and your immediate and longer term priorities. Create multiple scenarios on how you will get from step A to Step B and beyond and keep an open mind to take advantage of sudden opportunities or impediments to your goal should they arise.
C: Think about what is keeping you in a stagnant state and force yourself to break out of a safe but unhealthy situation and consider best-case and worst-case scenarios of the changes you must make to get ahead in your career and job search.
D: Understand that for most of you, the business world and the process of conducting a job search has changed since you were last in this position. Stop doing the same things that have not shown any tangible results and look for innovative new actions to propel your career and job search forward and not backwards.
E: When things don't go according to plan, look at why and don't rush to change. Be pragmatic and try and ascertain what exactly went wrong; was it the plan, the execution, natural unavoidable occurrences, or was it your attitude.
F: The best strategy to get ahead is through helping others. Discuss what you are looking to accomplish with people you trust on an ongoing basis and keep them involved in your plans and remain involved in theirs as much as possible.
G: Look at your career goals and job search strategy from another perspective – that of an employee or recruiter and see what this does for you.
H: Most of all track of your actions and analyze your successes and failures, and at the end of every day tell yourself "I am now one day closer to finally arriving at my desired goal and tomorrow will be that day."