Find the path that’s right for you
By Jeff Kolenc
Monitor Deloitte | Summer 2014 Co-op
If you are reading this article, you are probably at a point in your life where the question “what do I do with the rest of my life?” becomes a more frequent thought. Answering this question is tough because there are so many options to choose from. Not only that, but the preparation required to succeed in interviews varies between careers and is becoming more and more competitive. I was at this roadblock last summer until a co-worker advised me to make a long-term career plan. He said that it helps to have a plan, even if you are young and end up deviating from it.
I followed my co-worker’s advice and to my surprise, creating a long-term career plan was a reflective, useful and motivating exercise. This is important because it helps focus your ambitions. Below are the steps I took to develop a long-term career plan, which helped me realize that I wanted a career in management consulting.
Step 1: Establish an end goal
Long-term career planning is a reflective exercise that requires working backwards. Spend some time figuring out what’s important to you, what motivates you and what your long-term career goal is. It helps to think in broad terms to tease out what your ambitions are.
Step 2: If needed, determine the intermediate steps to reach your end goal
If your end goal is more specific, it may help to identify the different paths and steps you need to take to reach your goal.
Step 3: List the careers you’re interested in and determine which option best aligns to your end goal
Map out the various roads you might take to achieve your end goal and then choose the path that best accomplishes this.
Step 4: Analyze your top choice
Think about what motivates you, what your priorities are and about your skills and experiences. Do these align to your career choice? Can you fill in any skill gaps? Based on questions like these, determine if the option at hand is a good fit, otherwise choose another one that is.
Step 5: Validate your choice
Talk to people about your career plan and get their input or if possible, experience it for yourself through an internship.
Hopefully after following these five steps, you will have a better idea of your career aspirations in both the short and long term. Remember that career planning is a continuous process. Not only this, but you’ll also have a good answer to the common interview question, “So why do you want to be a _____?”
Jeff is a fourth year student at the University of Toronto majoring in Finance and Economics.