Avoid the consequences of a career plateau with a continual learning plan.
If you are an ambitious professional, the chances are you have a clear idea where you want to go in life and what you want to achieve with your career.
But the question is - how will you go about achieving your goals in Japan’s competitive market? In order to keep moving forward, and to progress at the desired rate, you’ll need to take responsibility for improving your career portfolio.
Recently, more and more employers across Japan are running training sessions, funding education initiatives or offering other development opportunities. However, professional learning is most effective when it is tailored to the needs of the individual.
This is why it makes sense to develop a continual learning plan. To be followed, and revised where appropriate, over the course of your career. Applying for jobs with training opportunities is always preferential, as employers can have an important role to play in this process.
But ultimately, each individual should set their own professional development agenda and ensure they act upon it. Better positioning themselves for career progress.
Professional development is important
So do the majority of employers in Japan take employee training and learning seriously? The answer is yes. There are many organisations with well-established and continuous professional development activities designed to help individuals reach their potential.
Being pro-active in this area can help you develop your current role, achieve greater satisfaction and effectiveness in your current work or take a new career direction.
Professionals should also make it a habit to put aside some time to reflect on their work and take stock. Great opportunities may just slip away if they fail to do so. It’s best to adopt a systematic approach to continual learning. Commit your ideas to paper by writing a plan and setting targets you wish to achieve.
What goes in a continual learning plan?
But what should the plan include? Ultimately this depends on each individual, their own level of motivation, and how they work most effectively.
Typically, the plan will consider current projects and issues relevant to career development. What is going well and what isn't.
Other considerations may be learning and development needs, required resources, people who can assist with development, obstacles to overcome, and both short and long-term goals.
Most continual learning plans will also set a timescale for each task, helping the individual to keep on-course to meet their career targets.
Taking immediate action
It may be possible to take action now to improve performance in your current role, enhance your career portfolio, and accelerate the process of targeting a promotion or a new job.
Your managers will conduct regular work appraisals. Typically they will focus in on what you have achieved in the last quarter or year, but this does not have to form the basis of your own learning plan.
An employer-led review is likely to be job or company specific, and may not consider your long-term career aspirations. And if this is the case, and there are gaps in the training and development offered to you by your existing employer, you need to think about where these can be filled. If you need professional help on searching for employers that support further education or vocational training courses, submit your CV here and contact one of our recruiters.
Acquiring a career coach can be particularly beneficial. Someone who can provide independent advice from an objective viewpoint. They can use their own experiences as a professional to help point you in the right direction, and ensure you lay the foundations for successful career progression.