The perfect career won’t just happen; you are responsible for your own destiny. Sadly, most people spend more time planning their next holiday than they spend planning their next career move. Invest some time and energy in building a career strategy.

The job for life no longer exists. Changes in the way we work mean most of us must now work harder to turn the dream career into reality. To succeed in a fast moving, modern business environment taking charge of your career is an imperative. Career management is a life skill that we should all develop. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, we change and grow so the plan has to change and flex and sometimes it has to be rewritten.

If you don’t have a plan you don’t have much chance of success. I’d suggest you need to adopt a learning perspective, think of yourself as a “skills and knowledge investor”. Assess your career and where you want to be; evaluate what the best candidate for your ideal role looks like; decide how you stack up and plan to close any gap between where you are and where you want to be.

It pays to invest in your career just as you invest in your pension scheme. Sensible assessment and investment on a regular basis, yields a better return. There two key areas that I believe are key to a career management approach that will serve you well in good times and bad:

These are key areas in career management and can help recession-proof your career.

We spend such a lot of time at work that it’s worth taking trouble to find a job you enjoy and build a fulfilling career. Winston Churchill said that “If you find a job you love, you'll never work again" and I firmly believe he was right; if you can find a role that is right for you that constitutes career success.

There is a clear business case for investing in the careers of employees – building loyalty, motivation and engagement in employees pays real dividends in terms of engagement. A committed employee base brings higher levels of innovation and productivity to an organisation; additionally studies have demonstrated that such commitment improves the retention of talented employees; as a consequence your business has increased customer satisfaction and greater shareholder value. McLeod reported that employees want personal development opportunities.

Organisations that understand the ROI of investing in career management for employees will see between a five and tenfold return! Employees feel valued when the organisation is willing to invest in their future careers. It’s obvious that access to training, including self‐managed learning and support for gaining qualifications is important in opening up career opportunities as is an effective performance appraisal process that is used in career conversations. Development programmes, mentoring and coaching are also invaluable in supporting career development for high potential employees.

Organisations who actively support career development can also help employees adapt to changing environments. Workers with a conscious career plan are more likely to find and choose roles appropriate to their skills and talents and to adjust quickly during periods of change. An effective workforce strategy is about optimising employee performance to meet organisational strategic goals.