What's Your Plan?
Work with your alumni career counselor and develop a realistic plan to improve your skill-set. The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is designed for alumni to clarify and create a career development action plan. Use this resource to help stay on track as you build and improve skills employers are seeking. This plan is meant to be revisited and flexible while you accomplish your SMART goals. Small steps and greater awareness make a big difference!
Develop Career Competencies
1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.
Ways to improve critical thinking skills:
- Think about a topic or issue in an objective and critical way.
- Identify the different arguments there are in relation to a particular issue.
- Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is.
- Recognise any weaknesses or negative points that there are in the evidence or argument.
- Notice what implications there might be behind a statement or argument.
- Provide structured reasoning and support for an argument that we wish to make.
Click here to read more. Source: www.skillsyouneed.com
2. Oral/Written Communications: Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.
Ways to improve communication skills:
- Write stories, advertisements, press releases or newsletters
- Improve the way you listen to others; use empathy and self-control when diffusing disagreements
- Refine your job search materials (resume, cover letter, interview preparation) at the Career Center
- Do fundraising for charities or nonprofit events; volunteer to work on a political campaign
3. Teamwork/Collaboration: Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.
- Help a new team develop through the stages of forming, storming, norming and performing
- Join a musical group or act in a play
- Participate on intramural team or sports club, coach Little League or a leader
- Contribute as a valuable member of a team focusing on team goals more than personal goals
Click here to read more about team-working. Source: www.skillsyouneed.com
4. Digital Technology: Leverage existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. The individual demonstrates effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.
Ways to improv e technical skills:
- Design or maintain web sites
- Design a brochure, advertisement or newsletter using desktop publishing software
- Assist community agencies with databases, statistical analyses, financial or service reports
- Keep budgets or financial records for community organizations, or work in a billing office
- Design PowerPoint presentation
- Sell computer hardware or software, or start a web-based business
- Learn computer and technical skills in classes and workshops that focus on software programs and applying technology
Click here to read more about digital skills needed for the modern workplace. Source: www.skillsyouneed.com
5. Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.
6. Professionalism/Work Ethic: Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management, and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from his/her mistakes.
Taking initiative is connected to self-motivation.
Ways to improve self-motivation:
- Setting high but realistic goals.
- For more about this, see our page on Setting Personal Goals.
- Taking the right level of risk.
- See our page on Risk Management for more about this.
- Seeking constant feedback to work out how to improve.
- For more, see our pages on Giving and Receiving Feedback and Dealing with Criticism.
- Being committed to personal or organisational goals and going the ‘extra mile’ to achieve them.
- See our pages on Setting Personal Goals and Effective Team-Working for more.
- Actively seeking out opportunities and seizing them when they occur.
- You may be interested in reading our pages on Courage and also on Personal Empowerment.
- Being able to deal with setbacks and continue to pursue goals despite obstacles.
- See our page on Resilience for more.
Click here to read more. Source: www.skillsyouneed.com
7. Career Management/Self-Awareness: Identify and articulate one's skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth. The individual is able to navigate and explore job options, understands and can take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understands how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.
Each topic below is designed to explain its importance to your career development, provide more in-depth information, offer questions to reflect on and further apply in your life, and suggest additional resources to enhance learning.
What's in it for you? Confidence is the fearlessness we feel when we are self-assured in our abilities. This helps us focus on tasks and push forward to accomplish our goals. We typically associate confidence with the high self-esteem we recognize in professionals and high-ranking officials; those people had to put in the time and diligence to craft a foundation of confidence and poise. You are never truly finish working on your confidence. It is a skill that you continue to build on through experience, practice, and observation.
Throughout your career exploration, confidence is essential to grasp the attention of recruiters and companies. They are drawn to confident candidates who have more than just academic excellence. Internships, informational interviews, and job fairs help prep students on building confidence and public speaking. Professional development activities overall can also help students feel comfortable with speaking about themselves.
Connect confidence skills to career success. Watch this informational Ted Talk to hear some ideas about the process of self-confidence building. Look at your experiences This includes volunteer positions, classes, jobs, club memberships, internships, and leadership roles. If you’re vying for an internship, but don’t have past experiences, highlight your campus involvement and course load. As a student, you’re involved in many activities; all these contribute to your past experiences.
Other ways to increase confidence:
Talk to someone who is in the position you are interested in.
Conduct informational interviews.
Read testimonials and employee reviews about what they think of the industry.
Craft a powerful resume and highlight skillsets that are valuable to your industry.
**Confidence is key to communicating effectively. Do research, try new experiences, and trust yourself to give yourself the boost you need to achieve career success**
Apply what you learned. Identify a person in your life who has great confidence. How did they get to their position? How did they start out? Think of 3 qualities that you could improve upon. Write them down. What are some plans you can make to improve upon these skills? What do you think the difference is between arrogance and confidence? How can you get to where you need to be?
What's in it for you? Learn how emotional intelligence can help in the career exploration and development process Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to understand and address their own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is not only important for your personal health, but is also important for career development. While academic achievement is important, you still need emotional and interpersonal skills to be successful in your career. Companies are looking increasingly for talented people who can work with others, build relationships, and lead themselves. You can build emotional intelligence by working on four foundational competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
Employers Want Emotional Intelligence
A recent survey detailed what skills and traits employers want in entry-level employees. ● Learning on the job quickly and efficiently ● Listening and communications skills ● Being able to adapt and respond to obstacles (problem solving skills) ● Personal management, confidence, motivation to work toward common goals ● Group and interpersonal skills and cooperativeness and teamwork ● Effectiveness in the organization and making a contribution (leadership potential) ● Competence in reading, writing, and math
Apply what you learned. Think about an instance that could have gone better or that you want to understand. Think about your feelings at that moment. How did you feel about the event as it unfolded? What emotions did you or the other party show during the event? Assess whether your own emotions and behavior affected the outcome. Did you cause heightened emotions in the other party? (Example: escalating anger) Did your emotions exacerbate the situation? What would you change if faced with the same or a similar situation again? How would you control your own emotions? What did you do well? Should you have done more of this?
What's in it for you? Goal setting is a major component of the career planning process, providing you with career development direction and allowing you to visualize what steps to take. There are many goal-setting models including SPIRO, SMART, and GROW, but it is important to find a model that works best for you. When you are trying to achieve your career goals, obstacles will materialize. However, your mindset will make all the difference. Being challenged and overcoming adversity is essential to growth; through adversity, we learn how to set realistic goals, develop alternate routes, remain persistent, tolerate disappointment and believe in ourselves...
Why are goals important?
Direct your behavior, changing your thoughts into action
Give you clarity on what you want and how to achieve it
Give you motivation to succeed
Help you pinpoint and achieve what you want in the end
Promote overall self-improvement and self-betterment
Connecting goal setting to career success. Look at the following tips, and apply them to your career development.
State each goal as a positive statement
Be specific: Set specific goals so you know your exact goal has been achieved.
Set priorities: Pinpoint which goals are most important, and prioritize them to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Write goals down: This finalizes them and gives them more force.
Keep goals incremental: Keeping goals small helps show the progress you are making.
Set realistic goals: Make sure your goals are achievable so you don’t get discouraged.
Apply what you learned. What is my sense of purpose? What is meaningful for me? How do I measure achievement of my goals? What abilities do I possess? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What learning actions do I need to undertake? What abilities do I want to develop? How will I overcome obstacles to my learning? Who can I learn from? What’s stopping me from doing what I want to do?
What's in it for you? Mindfulness is a state of mental awareness achieved by focusing on the present moment, keeping an open mind, and reacting and reflecting to thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can be difficult when you lead a busy life and are constantly distracted by your past and future. However, focusing on the “here and now” is important, because it grounds you when you are overwhelmed with life and its possibilities. The more you utilize this skill, the more it becomes a part of your daily life. Mindfulness will help you relieve stress, stay focused, and reflect on everyday experiences. Overall, this will help you live in the moment and try new things.
Why is mindfulness important? How does “being in the zone” contribute to your career development and success? Whether it is a job, internship, or volunteer position, mindfulness will help you become self-aware, thus improving your career development process. Through self-awareness and constant reflection, you will gain knowledge of yourself, your support system, and your professional surroundings.
Benefits of Mindfulness. Respond to stress in a healthy, productive way ● Reduce stress before an interview, a first day of work, or a big event ● Better manage the job search and internship process ● Improve networking skills ● Improve social relationships with bosses and coworkers ● Increase openness to career experiences ● Learn how to make compassionate and ethical decisions
Apply what you learned. Reflect on these questions the next time you feel overwhelmed while managing career decisions: Are you lost in your thoughts as opposed to planning strategically for your job/internship search? While you’re working, are you distracted by your thoughts or engaged? The more mindful you become, the more you gain awareness of your thoughts and actions. Are they aligned with your values?
What's in it for you? Time management is the method you use to organize your time and achieve your goals. This concept isn’t always as easy as it may first appear. Accomplishing everything you want to do within a set time can often be a daunting and stressful task, as you may find yourself procrastinating. Poor time management can impact your career goals. An overwhelming workload or number of tasks, may cause you to miss important application deadlines or limit your search for jobs. However, even if completing everything you have to do seems impossible, you can still turn it around. Time Management and your Career Plan In becoming organized, you can learn to optimize your time. One of the ways to accomplish this is by developing a routine. First, identify what you want to achieve. Once you have a goal in mind, you can start developing a plan with milestones that will help you feel accomplished and reach your goal.
Think about the advantages of controlling your time and prioritizing your goals. ● Identify and set your priorities ● Develop a plan of action to achieve your goals ● Educate yourself on jobs, occupations, industries, and professional growth ● Plan relaxing activities and allow time for unplanned events ● Identify, plan, and renew personal career goals
Apply what you learned. How do you spend most of your time? Are you spending adequate time on career research, job search, networking, etc.? How are you determining what is enough time? Are you spending a half hour a day on career development or 10 hours a day? What activities can be changed to make more room in your daily schedule? Limit TV hours, long breaks, and waking up late How are you planning for tomorrow? Are you writing your plan down? How might writing your daily schedule in advance help you? Think about how you can categorize your activities High priority, medium priority, low priority Do you feel stressed when completing certain tasks? What tasks make you feel stressed? What do you do to destress?
8. Global/Intercultural Fluency: Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates, openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.
**Sources include the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), Michigan State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Hart Research Associates, CareerBuilder, US News & World Report, World Future Society, American Society for Training & Development and the U.S. Department of Labor, Mindtools.