Why is it important to start career planning now? That’s a question that a lot of people have asked ever since their parents and teachers were telling them to focus on their futures in high school. As we all know, most people either don’t take that seriously or they still haven’t figured it out despite trying.
So, why is it so important? Why do you need to start career planning?
It all comes down to achieving your preferred lifestyle as early as possible, and of course, you don’t want opportunities to pass you by.
It’s a little more complicated than that, though. So, here are the more specific things that can happen if you don’t start career planning right after you’re done reading this.
1: You Only Have So Much Time
Sure, you look in the mirror, and you’re a young, vibrant adult with your whole life ahead of you, but that changes quickly. Now is the time to make moves that are going to qualify you for your dream job and get you ahead of the curve.
Time is limited. Let’s say you’re 23 right now. You start planning today. If you conduct a career assessment and pick a career that requires college, there is a minimum of four years between you and just starting your goal. That means you won’t even start your job search until you’re 27.
That’s also a bare minimum number. Assume that it takes a year to get accepted into college and wait until the semester starts.
Now, you’re 28 before you start job hunting. What if you want to be a doctor? 16 years of schooling will put you at 39, almost 40 years old, before you even get to apply for residency in a hospital.
Even with the trades, where you can usually get a 2-year paid apprenticeship, you won’t start making the big bucks until you’ve completed your apprenticeship.
Do you see how the actual time cost of pursuing a career is a lot higher than just a few weeks to months that it takes to job hunt? Every moment you spend waiting for the perfect moment to come along puts off the start date of your career.
2: The Effects of Age on Performance and Hiring
Keeping in mind what we said about the true time requirement needed to pursue a career, it’s time to consider the effects of age.
Mostly, there are two major effects of age on your career.
First, there are your chances of getting hired or promoted.
Unfortunately, the older you get, the harder it is just to get your foot in the door. Even seasoned professionals with years of experience can have problems getting hired in their forties, fifties, or higher.
So, let’s say you’re 23 and want to go for a massive 16-year degree to start your career. At 39, you’re not a prime candidate anymore.
You’re at a higher risk of developing health issues, you’ll likely be past your physical prime and require certain accommodations, and more. Even if you land a job, promotions might be hard to get due to those same factors.
Then, there’s your ability to perform. As you age, your body just isn’t going to keep up with you. Especially in hectic jobs where you’re stressed and constantly moving around.
Get into the best position possible while you’re young, and your body can acclimate to that activity, and you can potentially work into a less demanding position in that career field by the time your body needs it.
Of course, 16 years of preparation is rare. Most jobs won’t require more than 2 to 4 years of education or skill building to start. However, if you’re waiting now, it’s likely that you’ll wait until you’re much older. At a certain point, even a relatively short prep time can leave you past your prime when you start.
3: You’re Less Likely to Try the Longer You Wait
Have you ever had a big test for school and needed to study, but you thought, “I have a month. I’ll play video games for now.” Then, a week went by. Then, another week went by.
The day before the test, you realized that you didn’t study at all, and you had to buckle down and cram a month of studying into less than a day. That’s what tends to happen with career planning.
If you’re young, you’re very likely to think you have time to put off your career and enjoy life a bit. However, that goes on, and with each passing year, you get a little older. By the time you know it, you’re 35, and all your dream jobs require 4 years of college. These types of scenarios are the best answers to why it is important to start career planning right now.
In contrast, if you sit down right now while you’re young and full of energy and plan your career, you’ll have already pulled the trigger on it. You just have to stick to that plan and see it through.
That doesn’t mean every waking moment needs to be dedicated to your career, but you do need to just sit down and get started. You don’t want to wake up one day and realize you procrastinated right into your 40s.
4: The Younger You Are, The Better Your Career Will Be
The longer you do a career, the more you’ll get out of it. Not only will you earn more annual salaries, but you’ll earn more raises, bonuses, promotions, and everything else.
Let’s say a 25-year-old and a 35-year-old both start the same job with the same wage. They each get annual salaries starting at $50,000, and their annual raise gets them an extra $1000.
By the time they reach 60 and want to retire, the 25-year-old will be making $10,000 more per year than the 35-year-old, and that doesn’t include all the extra bonuses, paid vacations, and more.
Find that shocking? One more reason to start developing a career plan.
Plan Your Career Now with Innate
Now that you know why it is important to start career planning now, you probably realize that every minute you waste not planning your career is a lost opportunity.
Take our free career match quiz to figure out which jobs you’re perfect for, and start planning your career today.