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Why You Should Invest in Your Career Planning

Read our blog to learn why career planning is crucial and how you can take control of your career so your employers can spot your true potential.

I have worked in a variety of organizations and industries and across very different job roles in each. In all my experiences, one thing that has remained true is that we are responsible for our career progression. Sometimes it gets difficult to match your personal aspirations against your current role because maybe it is not where you want to be at this moment. This usually leads to a heavy misalignment between yourself and your employer, and it is at this moment that you will wake up every morning and put on your employee hat, and forget your true self. This is why career planning matters so much, even in the early stage of your career.

For most who are only starting their careers right now, this reality has not sunk in yet. Many, or even most people, are mostly happy to get employment and hope the best comes out of it if they just put in enough effort to get by. I have been in such positions, where it did not matter how good I was at what I was doing, it just did not align with my career objectives. This is usually made more difficult by the lack of feedback within these environments. Ultimately, you develop a “corporate persona” to get you through the day and this persona will, in certain instances, be extremely different from you.

You versus your “employee profile”

The discrepancy between your authentic self and your “corporate persona” affects how we think about our careers and act as a demotivator. As an individual, you will have to break yourself out of this cycle, and sometimes it does mean fighting yourself only to be able to reclaim your wellness. Investing in your career requires you to be present, not partially, but fully present in your organization and immerse yourself in its vision. You will have to learn to collaborate and accommodate a variety of personalities, and this can only be achieved through self-awareness.

Within the corporate environment, utilize all available resources such as your assessment data. This will give you a glimpse into your preferred workstyles and help identify your strengths and development areas. You will then need to engage with all your colleagues to further understand how they contribute to the organizational vision. Your career planning requires a time investment on your end—if you do not have the time to plan your career, then that is a possible sign that there is a disconnection between yourself, your role, and your organization.

When you take control of your career in such a manner, it becomes very easy for your employer to identify your true potential.

The discrepancy between your authentic self and your “corporate persona” affects how we think about our careers and act as a demotivator. You will have to break yourself out of this cycle, and sometimes it does mean fighting yourself only to be able to reclaim your wellness.

Build your confidence

Having information about yourself can help improve confidence in your ability to build your career. I know it is very scary to be a graduate walking into an entirely new environment. But, be open to listening and courageous enough to ask for feedback from your colleagues. This will increase your ability to network, which is a great skill to have that will boost your confidence. There are various ways to receive feedback, through informal conversations or your company’s performance management process. It is good to be a step ahead in this case as it also shows initiative.

Be honest

The key to having a successful career is honesty. From your first interaction with a role, understand what it requires and be honest about your ability to carry out the tasks that you know and what you are willing to learn. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the purpose of talent assessments. These can provide valuable information both to your employer and yourself when you complete them as honestly and as accurately as possible.

Go the extra mile

It is important to understand the relationship between employee and employer. There are policies put in place to manage these relationships. But the most important thing to learn is that as with any relationship, communication serves as a foundation to having a successful one. You must be open to having as many fruitful conversations with as many people as possible to gain true value out of your experiences. Going the extra mile is more for your benefit as it helps strengthen your relationship with all your stakeholders.

Take control of your moves

The best way to grow your career is to remove the mask that hides your potential and allow new experiences to inform your future endeavors. As an employee, control what you can, and learn from what you cannot control.

To maximize your experiences and drive growth within your career, you must make time for career planning. Have confidence in your ability and capability; be honest with yourself and your employer with what you can and cannot do; ask for feedback from others; and most importantly, take control of your moves.

SHL provides candidates with best-in-class assessment experiences that are accompanied by valuable narrative reports and candidate feedback solutions that will help build their careers.

headshot Seotlelo rapolai


Seotlelo Rapolai

Seotlelo Rapolai is a Customer Experience Specialist at SHL in South Africa and is dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive positive experiences across all our services and products. Having spent almost a decade of his professional experiences in various roles HR, Project Management, and Sales, he has experienced most aspects of what makes an organization successful and some of the behaviors associated with the successes.

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