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How to create the best career launch plan for 2024

Here's how to launch your career in 2024.
If you’re looking to start the New Year with a new career, there’s no judgement from us. It’s helpful to set a deadline for yourself and if that happens to be the New Year, then great! That’s just around the corner and you have ample time to plan your career launch in 2024. 

It can get a little tricky, of course, especially if you’re a student, graduate or intern who is struggling to navigate the job market. Times of uncertainty will always be around, so how do you ensure that you’re ready to take on the challenge? A comprehensive career launch plan is the way to go.

If this sounds a little daunting, don’t worry about it. We’ve got you covered.

Do you need a career launch plan?

It isn’t absolutely essential but it can be extremely helpful! Think of a career launch plan as the toolkit for a do-it-yourself project. As a student or recent graduate, you might not have a vast reservoir of professional experiences, but a well-crafted plan ensures you’re equipped with the right skills and qualifications. It’s not just about landing a job; it’s about entering the professional arena with a competitive edge.

Beyond that, it’s a strategy. The job market can be a jungle, especially when you’re just starting. A career launch plan is your survival guide. It helps you navigate the terrain, whether it’s researching industries, building a network, or strategically applying for positions. It’s your game plan to avoid the pitfalls and seize the right opportunities.

Let’s not forget the networking aspect. Building connections can feel daunting, but a career launch plan turns it into a structured approach. It’s about cultivating relationships that go beyond a LinkedIn connection. These connections become mentors, allies, and sources of valuable insights, helping you transition smoothly into the professional community.

Moreover, a career launch plan fosters adaptability. The job market isn’t static; it’s a dynamic ecosystem. Having a plan means you’re not just reacting; you’re proactively staying informed, seeking feedback, and adjusting your approach. It’s the flexibility to pivot when needed, ensuring you stay relevant in an ever-evolving landscape.

In essence, a career launch plan is your backstage pass to the professional world. It’s not just a piece of paper; it’s a strategic mindset that propels you forward. As a student or recent graduate, it lays the groundwork for a meaningful and intentional journey into your chosen field. 

Step 1: Get to know yourself

Let’s kick things off with self-discovery—the foundational phase. This is where you take a moment to really get to know yourself. We’re not talking Myers-Briggs levels of introspection, but more like figuring out what makes you tick.

It’s not just about listing your skills on paper; it’s about tapping into what genuinely excites you and aligns with your values. Picture it like assembling the pieces of a puzzle that is you – your interests, passions, skills, etc.

Self-discovery is an ongoing process and you’ll find things you thought you knew about yourself changing all the time. It involves reflection, possibly taking personality assessments, and seeking feedback from those who know you well. The goal here is to create a solid foundation that will guide your career decisions. Think of it as crafting your personal user manual, a guide that helps you navigate your professional path with authenticity and purpose.

Consider trying out a personal SWOT analysis!

Step 2: Set your goals

The next most important step is knowing what your goals are. Short-term goals are the stepping stones, the bite-sized achievements that keep you motivated. Long-term goals are the bigger picture, the destination you’re aiming for. It’s not about fancy job titles or corner offices; it’s about the experiences, skills, and impact you want to accumulate along the way.

If you were to plan out your travel itinerary, what would you do? You’re not just randomly moving; you’re intentional about where you want to go and what you want to achieve. It involves outlining specific, achievable targets that give direction to your career trajectory.

Step 3: Research your options

Imagine this as exploring a buffet before deciding what to put on your plate. You’re not committing to a single dish just yet; you’re checking out the options, understanding the flavours, and figuring out what resonates with you.

Research and exploration involve delving into different industries and companies. You’re not aiming for quick decisions but rather gaining insights. You might read industry reports, check out company cultures, and scroll through job sites. The goal here is to narrow down your options and find a career terrain that aligns with your values and aspirations.

Research is a step that is perpetual—it never stops and you need to keep researching and exploring throughout your career. For example, when you’re applying for a job, you’ll want to vet the company before joining. That involved research.

Step 4: Develop relevant skills

This step is about building a robust foundation, empowering you to tackle the challenges of your chosen career with confidence. While carrying out your research, you’ll be able to identify the qualifications and skills demanded in your ideal profession.

Once you’ve identified the qualifications and skills, it’s time to acquire them! Don’t mistake this for collecting degrees like trophies. You need to ensure you have the right tools to tackle the challenges of your chosen field—and this might require you to get a few certifications.

Take this example: If you want to be an SEO expert, you need to have something to prove you have your foundation down. So, you’d likely complete a course and obtain your qualifications. This would go in your CV.

Enrol in courses, pursue certifications, or gain hands-on experience to enhance your skill set.

By doing this, you’re essentially honing your craft—even if it’s isn’t exactly your craft just yet! Whether it’s pursuing formal education, attending workshops, or gaining practical experience, this phase is about equipping yourself with the skills that will make you a valuable asset in your professional journey. 

Step 5: Networking and making friends

Networking is a term that, unfortunately, often comes with a side of discomfort. But let’s keep it real, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s about making genuine professional connections. 

Start by updating and optimising your LinkedIn profile to reflect your current goals and relevant information. Your LinkedIn profile is like your digital storefront, where people can get a glimpse of who you are professionally. Here, you can start connecting with professionals in your field of interest. You can also attend virtual or in-person events to connect with them. 

These connections won’t guarantee an immediate job offer, but they can offer valuable insights, mentorship, and potentially open doors in the future. Think of it as expanding your professional circle, creating a network that supports and guides your career growth.

Step 6: Create and refine your CV/resume

Crafting a compelling CV or resume isn’t about using fancy words to impress; it’s about effectively showcasing your skills and experiences. You want it to be engaging, highlighting your achievements without overwhelming the reader—or getting scrapped by the applicant tracking system (ATS), if the company uses one!

Your resume and online presence should tell a clear, concise story of your professional identity, making it easy for potential employers to see your value.

If you don’t have a CV yet, check these CV templates out!

Step 7: Start your job hunt

Now, let’s talk about job hunting. We’re bringing together all the information you’ve accumulated from the former steps for this one. It’s the practical side of putting yourself out there. Your approach to job applications should be more like a precision strike than a messy explosion of arrows in all directions.

If you cast too wide a net, you’re going to have to sort through all the discarded boots before you get to the fish.

That’s why this phase involves developing a systematic approach to your job search. It’s not just about quantity; it’s about quality. Tailor each application to the specific role and company, emphasising how your skills and experiences align with their needs. Check out this comprehensive job hunt cheat sheet if you’re unsure how to put it all together!

Step 8: Interview preparation

Ah, the interview – the moment where you get to shine. No need for fancy showbiz; it’s more about being yourself and presenting your best self. This isn’t about using the poshest English words to impress; it’s about being authentic and confident. 

Preparing for interviews can go several ways. For one, there are so many different interview techniques out there! 

Research common questions, practice your responses, and consider conducting mock interviews with friends or mentors. This isn’t about putting on a show; it’s about being genuine and confident. Your goal is to present your authentic self effectively. Treat it like a conversation where you articulate your experiences and demonstrate how you can contribute to the prospective role and company.

Try out the STAR method—a favourite across the board—if you’d like to structure your answers perfectly and with ease.

Step 9: Stay flexible and agile

Now, let’s talk about adaptability—the ability to roll with the punches in your career journey. This phase involves a mindset of continuous improvement – always seeking ways to enhance your skills, knowledge, and approach to stay relevant in the ever-evolving professional landscape. 

The job market is dynamic, and being adaptable is an invaluable ability! So, how do you do it? Take this three-pronged approach: 1. Stay informed on industry trends; 2. Always seek feedback and learn from it; 3. Be open to change. 

Career journeys are winding roads with many unexpected turns—yes, even with a career launch plan in place! Having a rigid plan is fine as long as you keep adjusting it as needed. 

Step 10: Seek mentorship

Mentorship is about having someone in your corner who can provide guidance and insights. Seeking mentorship is like having a seasoned friend who’s been there and done that. 

With mentorship, you’re not just receiving advice; you’re also learning from their mistakes and successes. Mentorship provides a valuable perspective and can be a game-changer in navigating the professional world. Whether through formal mentorship programs or informal connections, having someone to lean on for advice and encouragement is a powerful asset in your career journey.

Your career launch plan is good to go! 

You’re now ready to launch your career in 2024 and take it to new heights. Remember, no matter how overwhelming it gets, a plan helps you stay grounded. Make sure to leave ample room for flexibility in your plan as rigidity could make tackling new challenges difficult! 

If your priorities change, that’s fine, too. The point of having a general plan is to ensure you’re on the right path and doing exactly what you need to do to climb the ladder to your new role. All the best!

Want to learn more about kickstarting your career? Book a call with us! Let’s talk about it. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest career information, tips, and updates.  (They’re both completely free!)

Kahless

Kahless

Kahless is a writer with a special interest in sociology. He spends much of his free time travelling, reading, writing, and stopping his cats from ripping apart everything he owns. It’s advised to bring along a strong cup of coffee (3 espresso shots minimum) when approaching him.

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