Own Your Career Journey- An Exclusive Interview with Iris Irumva

Whether you are joining the workplace for the very first time or starting out in a new industry, this is the kind of moment that definitely marks an important step. It indicates the beginning of an ongoing process that will happen throughout your life- your career journey.

However, on every path, there might be some factors beyond our control that can slow us down- global pandemic, technological changes, economic crises, just to name a few. 

So, how can we embark successfully on that journey despite unexpected events?

Iris Irumva 400_500 PX (3)

CHANCEN had an exclusive interview with Iris Irumva, The Managing Director at ITM Africa- Rwanda, a pan African HR Consultancy company. As an expert in the human resource management sector and leader with many years of experience, Iris shed some light on how you can own your career journey.

What is the right time to start planning your career journey and why?

Career evolves and changes with time, but the sooner we start preparing it, the better. One can even start while at high school, but joining the university will help you to see a wide range of areas you can focus on in your career. Not only preparing your career early on shapes your future, but it gives you clarity and helps you to focus on what you want to become.

What are the steps we can use to develop a career plan?

As a student or graduate, you need first to focus on having a self- development plan before a career plan. The self- development plan will not definitely be focused on first landing the dream career job or getting high remuneration but rather getting the experience. This includes professional training and internships which eventually will help you build your CV.

Another important thing is to be passionate about developing your own ideas and solutions. If you look at the way things were done before, the traditional way of growing a career would be simply getting a job at a given company but right now the career plan could include as well self- employment.

With the current worldwide outbreak, some industry has been greatly affected namely the tourism industry. What would you tell someone whose career plan has been affected?

The  COVID has really affected everyone from Governments,  the public sector to the private sector;  companies that wanted to hire, no longer have the capacity, unemployed people who were eventually hoping to get jobs have seen their dreams shattered because of the outbreak.

We need to set in our minds that change is the only constant in life and it is inevitable. How can we adjust our plans when changes occur? I recommend using the RESET formula to adjust the plans.

Reflect: Understand the situation you are in and how it is affecting you and your plan.

Evaluate: the next step is doing an evaluation of what can work and what is not going to work in the new concept.

Simplify: You need to simplify the process once you know what you want to do. Most of us when we are putting together a plan, want to do complicated things. Start simple with what you have.

Establish your plan: Maybe your plan could be shifting your focus from the tourism industry to another industry like customer care. You need to be more open and willing to shift gears. 

Time bond: Give yourself a deadline.  For example, You could say as a student that during this month, I am assigning myself to submit 2 to 4 internship applications, I am going to subscribe to this free training online. You need to give yourself a sort of deadline.

Once you have done your RESET, it is important to reevaluate the plan. One of the things that this pandemic is teaching us is the importance of doing constant check-ins to see if the plan set is working.  RESET is a way of refreshing yourself and getting new ideas.

Apart from the RESET strategy, you also need someone who can mentor you throughout the process, someone whose past experience can shed light on what you are currently facing.

If you could give one advice to follow regarding career planning, what would it be?

There are three things that have been a great foundation in my career. The first one is preparation. Preparation can really boost your career.

Once you are prepared, we need to grasp opportunities. Many times, there are opportunities that come our way but we feel like we are not sure of the outcome. We shouldn’t be afraid of grasping opportunities as they allow us to grow.

Lastly, don’t be average. If you are given an opportunity, go extra miles. Don’t be like everyone else, try to give your best because it will first give self-confidence because you realize you have the potential, and second, someone might notice you and give you many more opportunities.