Development of strategic Career alternatives

In developing a career strategy, one usually has several alternatives. The most successful strategy would be to build on one’s strengths to take advantages of opportunities. For example, if a person has an excellent knowledge of computers and many companies are looking for computer programmers, he or she should find many opportunities for a satisfying career. On the other hand, if there is a demand for programmers, and if an individual is interested in programming but lacks the necessary skills, the proper approach would be a developmental strategy to overcome the weakness and develop the skills in order to take advantage of the opportunities.

It may also be important to recognize the threats in the environment and to develop a strategy to cope with them. A person with excellent managerial and technical skills may work in a declining company or industry. The appropriate strategy might be to find employment in an expanding firm or in a growing industry.

Consistency Testing and Strategic choices:

In developing a personal strategy, one must realize that the rational choice based on strengths and opportunities is not always the most fulfilling alternative. Although one may have certain skills demanded in the job market, a career in that field may not be congruent with personal values or interests. For example, a person may prefer dealing with people to programming computers. Some may find great satisfaction in specialization, while others prefer to broaden their knowledge and skills.

Strategic choices require trade-offs. Some alternatives involve high risks, others low risks. Some choices demand action now; other choices can wait. Careers that were glamorous in the past may have an uncertain future. Rational and systematic analysis is just one step in the career planning process, for a choice also involves personal preferences, personal ambitions, and personal values.

Development of short-range Career objectives and action plans:

So far, concern has centered on career direction. But the strategy has to be supported by short-term objectives and actions plans, which can be a part of the performance appraisal process. Thus, if the aim is to achieve a certain management position that requires a master of business degree, the short-term objective may be to complete a number of courses. Here is an example of a short-term verifiable objective: to complete the course Fundamentals of Management by May 30 with a grade of A. This objective is measurable, as it states the task to be done, the deadline, and the quality of performance (the grade).

Objectives often must be supported by actions plans. Continuing with the example, the completion of the management course may require a schedule for attending classes, doing the homework, and obtaining the support of the spouse, who may suffer because attending classes takes time that might otherwise be spent with the family. It is obvious that the long-term strategic career plan needs to be supported by short-term objectives and action plans.