Developing Your Career

Every recent graduate or new starter should consider developing a career plan before starting their job search. This will help to clarify what your long-term and short-term goals are for your career and outline a realistic path to get there. It will also make it easier to focus your job search on the right positions and help you stay motivated as you make progress toward your objectives.

Your career plan should cover the following:

Your career goals: This includes both short-term goals, such as the type of company (sector, niche, values, etc.) for which you’d like to work, as well as your longer-term ambitions, including, crucially, what you hope to achieve during your career.  A career goal should not be limiting but should assist with direction and focus.  Be open-minded and expect the odd change or disappointment along the way; not all career goals are met, and your wants and needs are likely to change as you become older and more experienced. But they can be really valuable in helping you stay focused on the right opportunities to get ahead.

It can also be beneficial to align your career goals with aspirations in your personal life. Though it is usually difficult to accurately predict everything, especially if you are in the early stages of your career, you’re likely to find it gets easier with time.

Determine the steps needed to achieve your goals. Once your goals are set, you can define a path that will get you there. This may include applying for new roles within your current company, changing companies to progress, moving abroad for the right role, or seeking additional training or studying for a professional qualification.

You’re likely to find that networking is hugely valuable in helping you achieve your goals, giving you the inside track on certain opportunities, and helping you understand what is expected and required in a certain industry. As they say, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know’, potential employers will see your curiosity as a definite sign of your interest and ambition.

Identify barriers: identify possible barriers to achieving your goals, so you can develop possible solutions in advance and anticipate potential setbacks.  There are many possible barriers to career development, including personal circumstances, tough competition, and a lack of training or experience. But if you plan for these in advance, they don’t need to dampen your ambitions.

Short-term career development

Focusing too much on long-term goals can be counterproductive, putting pressure on you to achieve unrealistic objectives and potentially resulting in shortcuts or inappropriate decisions.  It is therefore vital to have a short-term career plan to keep track of your progress within a manageable time frame.  Short-term career plans require developing realistic goals and objectives that are achievable within the next couple of years.

Long-term career development

Long-term career development requires planning for the next five to ten years and is equally important to ensure you are moving in the right general direction to arrive there. However, career planning is not only an inward-looking exercise, as you also have to understand which way the market and industry are moving. For example, do you need to upgrade your technical skills given the increasing automation? Would you benefit from a stint in a fast-growing, developing market in Asia?

Ultimately, you have to make a decision based on your own skill set and the market environment. Work towards making yourself more valuable to an employer.

If you’re looking for your next challenge in finance or audit:

Send Us Your CV, or Search for Jobs to find out about the roles we currently have available.

Our Renaix Guide to Recruitment for Audit and Finance Professionals provides information on trends in the industry.

Similar posts: Sector Focus, Finding A Job That Suits You, Careers Advice For Business Professionals

Job Seekers

On the hunt for your next role? Upload your CV below and we’ll be in touch to discuss your requirements.


For employers seeking the right skills and cultural fit for your business, send us your vacancy to find out more about how we can help.

Submit CV Send Us Your Vacancy

Search Jobs