Career Planning: What You Need to Know About Your Professional Future

Career Planning: What You Need to Know About Your Professional Future

For many of us, from the time we’re in high school, we’re taught the value of making a career plan. Whether it’s a five-year plan or a 10-year plan, we learn that looking to and preparing for the future will help us in getting there. As we move into adulthood and start developing our careers, though, career planning continues to be a vital tool. In our new podcast, we spoke with Mark Herschberg about how best to plan for your professional future and continue to pivot and grow along the way.

Learn what you need to know about career planning in our new interview with Mark Herschberg below:

Mark Herschberg is the author of the excellent new book, The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You, which just came out on January 5th. It’s already sold out, but fear not: New books will be restocked this month! Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He has a M.Eng. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and he teaches annually at MIT. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, and, at Harvard Business School, he helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. A man of varied interests, Mark has some hidden talents. For example, he was one of America’s top-ranked ballroom dancers! He is also known for his annual Halloween parties – although not this last year, for obvious reasons.

To kick off our discussion, we learn how such a storied and successful person made the move to writing a book. Mark admits that he hadn’t originally set out to write a full book, but over time, his many ideas and bits of advice grew into hundreds of pages. We’re glad they did, because The Career Toolkit is an incredibly helpful book for any professional.

The first chapter of his book is about career planning. Why is it important that people have a career plan instead of going with the flow or following the opportunities that come their way? As Mark explains here, career plans offer more than just a roadmap of your future. They can also allow you to discover more about yourself: your talents, interests, and working style.

To create a good career plan, you’ll want to ask yourself certain questions. Sure, there are the obvious ones, like “What do I want to accomplish by the end of this year?” or “What skills do I need to gain to be successful in my career?” However, Mark suggests asking yourself other questions that look at your career from a new angle. He shares some key questions here.

Like all plans, a career plan isn’t set in stone, and things likely won’t work out exactly as you’d anticipate. Should your career plan change accordingly? How much should you move things around as time goes by? Mark describes the balance between concrete planning and having a little flexibility. He also recommends revisiting your career plan regularly, and continuing to ask yourself probing questions.

But is career planning for everyone? What if you don’t know what your dream job is? How can a career plan help someone with a clear dream job versus someone without one? Mark shares his advice for how to plan ahead when you’re not yet sure what you want. Trust us, regardless of where you are, drafting a career plan can only push you forward.

Tune into our podcast below to learn how to plan your career:

Before you go, be sure to get your copy of Mark’s book, The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. Although it’s sold out now, you can get on the waiting list ahead of the upcoming second printing. Visit the official Career Toolkit website here, and be sure to get the Career Toolkit app, which offers a career tracker, useful exercises, and other bonus material.

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