Developing a Career Strategy

Creating Your Ideal Career

Developing a Career Strategy

Build the ideal career.

© iStockphoto/daizuoxin

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." – George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright

Meet Jack; a talented professional who's been with his organization for several years. Although Jack's good at his job, he's never given much thought to what he'd like to achieve with his career.

And, because he hasn't taken the time to define his dreams, or to come up with a strategy to realize them, he frequently misses key opportunities. If he'd taken advantage of these, he would have been promoted several times over the years.

Jack's actually still in the same role he was originally hired for. He's moderately happy on the surface, but he knows that, deep down, he could be achieving much more.

Does this sound like a career you'd like to have?

Chances are, you want to work in a role that's fun, challenging and fulfilling; and that also pushes you to achieve your full potential. The good news is that there may be plenty of opportunities available to you in your current role. All you need to do is identify them, and create a strategy to get to where you want to go.

In this article, we'll outline a common-sense approach that you can use to think about how to reach your full potential in your career.

Taking Control of Your Career

Some people think that the development of their career is out of their hands. After all, you can't get a job, promotion, or project without someone else giving it to you, right?

Well, on one level, that's true. However, what you do and how far you go in life is in reality up to one person: you. Great careers don't just happen – if you want a career that excites and challenges you, then you need to plan for it.

These steps will help you do this:

Step 1: Review Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Motivators, and Values

Developing a career strategy is like constructing a building. You have to start with a solid foundation and, bit by bit, work your way towards the top.

Before you do anything else, you need to analyze your strengths and weaknesses, as well as understanding your values and what motivates you.

So, start by looking at your strengths and weaknesses. What do you excel at in the role you're in now? And, what skills have allowed you to shine in previous roles? Conversely, what are your weakest skills, or the tasks you find most difficult?

Remember, strengths and weaknesses aren't always obvious. For instance, you might be great at creating harmony in a group; you might be very good at winning others over to your side; or, you might have a talent for inspiring people to go along with a new initiative. These are all strengths!

It can be helpful to do a Personal SWOT Analysis   during this first step.


If you're struggling to identify your strengths, you may find it helpful to work through our Bite-Sized Training session on Finding Your Unique Strengths.

Next, analyze what motivates you in your career:

  • What tasks, projects, or roles get you excited, right now?
  • What type of role would you be motivated to work towards in the future?
  • What interests you about your current position, your colleagues, and your organization?
  • Which responsibilities would you enjoy that you don't already have?

Here, it can be helpful to use tools such as Schein's Career Anchors  , Holland's Codes  , and the MPS Process   to discover what work is best suited to you.

This is also a good time to analyze what makes you happy in life – tools such as the PERMA Model   and Ben-Shahar's Happiness Model   will be useful here.


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