African youth, here’s how to plan for career resilience

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African youth, here?s how to plan for career resilience. Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank African youth, here’s how to plan for career resilience. Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank

With the future of working rapidly changing, the 2020s decade can make or break your career. Nonetheless, you can secure the future of your career by setting an action plan for your personal development.

Developing a personal plan provides an opportunity for you to reflect on yourself and your journey and determine your career direction. It’s also an opportunity to identify the next steps or actions to move you toward your goal, and helps you understand your priorities. Going through this process might be time-consuming and emotion-evoking, but I think it is a good way to guarantee progress toward success.

As young Africans, we cannot afford to be left behind. Starting now, I recommend your plan should focus on these five key aspects to safeguard a future-proof career:

  1. Learn a new digital skill: In this era, digital skills reign supreme therefore digital literacy gives a competitive edge. Choose to learn coding as a beginner, upgrade your programming skills, learn a new programming language, or learn a new data visualization or digital design tool. Then enroll in an online course, attend an in-person training, or watch free tutorials on the internet to start learning the new skill. Make sure you practice and plan to complete learning this skill by the end of 2020.
  2. Upgrade your hobby: Nurture creativity, flexibility and adaptability by working to master your hobby. Hobbies are naturally exciting, therefore, they may work as a self-care tool while improving your mental health. With better emotional wellbeing, you may develop the clarity of mind needed for creative thinking and good decision-making, which is essential when adapting to changes. Your hobby may also enhance your skill-set versatility, and you can leverage this to turn your hobby into a lucrative side gig or to demonstrate flexibility in your professional career.
  3. Join a new club or association: Practice your interpersonal and leadership skills but also broaden your network by joining a community development or charity organization, a book or learning club, or a professional association. Working in this new group will help you to cultivate skills such as mediation and empathy that cannot be automated therefore gaining relevant experience to position you for future jobs.
  4. Be proactive with your next career move: Spot career trends in advance and always be prepared to make a career move. Identify career opportunities that you want to pursue this year. These may include internships and career development programs such as the World Bank Young Professional Program, fellowships, competitions and scholarships. Check their eligibility criteria.  Assess if you meet their requirements, and then identify one to five strategic opportunities to prioritize this year. Take note of application periods and deadlines of your target opportunities and start planning for your applications in advance. You may also subscribe to newsletters and alerts through their website to keep yourself informed so that you should not miss out.
  5. Work on a new habit: Staying focused to achieve goals can be overwhelming especially when we are struggling with some habits that could hinder our progress such as procrastination, family issues, poor management of personal finances, eating disorders, or lacking work-life balance. You need to address such challenges by identifying a habit to work on that can help resolve the issue. For example, you may start using time management apps or make a schedule to seek expert advice from financial advisors or relationship counsellors.

Remember to put your plan in writing for reference. You may come back to it regularly to track progress, to keep yourself motivated and to remind yourself of priorities. The plan will have to be reviewed at the end of the year following your reflections of what worked well and what did not. This review will guide you to decide what new skill to learn, what hobby to focus on, what group to join, what new opportunities to pursue, and what new habit to develop next year.

What would you add to this personal development plan? Please comment below with your suggestions!  

African youth, here?s how to plan for career resilience. Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank


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