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Career Advice and Planning

Salaam.

As someone who has seen a little bit of success in the corporate world, I would like to take this opportunity to offer career advice to college-going and recent graduates of ShiaChat who are about to embark on their careers.

01) Don't start planning and looking for a job when you have less than 2-3 months left of college. Job-hunting begins when you have about a year left to graduate. Identify companies you would like to work for; try to network with people to belong to these companies.

02) Create a LinkedIn Profile and keep it updated. Try to connect with people in Talent Acquisition (TA) within the companies you are interested in working for.

03) Inquire about internship opportunities within these companies even if the internships are unpaid. The experience and networking opportunities should be well worth it.

04) Career planning does not mean looking for your next job. Career planning is planning for your last job before retirement and then working your backwards to your current position. This leads to an important exercise. You have to ask yourself - "Where do I want to be in 45 years?" (45 years if starting career around 22 and working until 67). If you don't know, then work on it -  think about it, evaluate your degree and see if it will help you, look at successful people with your degree. How far did they get in their careers?

05) Once you've figured out where you would like to be in 45 years, work your way backwards in 5 year intervals to different positions you will need to hold in order to get to the next level. Let's take an example within IT. You are 22 and graduating today with a degree in programming and plan to retire as CIO. Career planning would go something like:

  • CIO (62 - 67)
  • IT Director (56 - 61)
  • Senior Manager (50 - 55)
  • Department Manager (44 - 49)
  • Project Manager (38 - 43)
  • Team Leader (32 - 37)
  • Programmer Analyst (27 - 21)
  • Programming Specialist (22 - 26)

It is important to note that first position and last position should be fixed. You should be flexible about all other positions in between. When evaluating new job opportunities, the first question you should ask is whether the new position will help you get to your end goal or not. If not, look elsewhere.

06) I mentioned 5 year intervals. If you are stuck in the same position for 5 years, then your career has become stagnant. Ideally, you should receive a promotion every 2.5 years or so. This does not necessarily mean a title change as much as increasing and/or different responsibilities.

07) Don't change jobs too frequently (every 18 months or so). It looks bad on a resume.

08) Don't be afraid to move laterally if it will help your end goal. Example, if you are stuck as a PM in a company and you know there is no upward mobility, then it is okay to find a PM position in another company if there is chance for growth.

09) For the most part, your degree will only help you get your first job. After that, it's what you make of yourself.

10) Never leave a position on bad terms. The corporate world is a lot smaller than you think.

Most people think of the corporate ladder as a straight ladder bottom to top. A more appropriate description is that a corporate ladder is more like a Donkey Kong Maze:

590b9a16a05b2_DKMaze.jpg.852b1aff12689568224995d5f79d46c9.jpg

You have to navigate your way through the stumbling blocks to reach the top.

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" is a very common interview question. You are almost guaranteed a job if this question is asked and you tell them that you have planned your career until retirement nad explain how this position would help you get there.

I hope this helps. Feel free to reply here with questions or PM me. But my first question back will be "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

 



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