Creating Your Career Map
Career planning is a tough concept for many people, because most people don’t understand how to plan their career. For most people, the task seems abstract. You may wonder how you can predict the circumstances that will happen, or how any one career path will materialize? Because they find the process daunting, most people plan their careers in one of three ways:
- Let’s see what happens.
- I’ll do what they did.
Obviously, none of these options constitute a plan. If you plan your career, like a business plans for their future, you will have a much better chance at success. When an individual works with their leadership to actively plan a career, the person finds their work more satisfying, the company helps their people grow, resulting in higher retention and productivity. This engagement is a win/win.
Set a Career Goal
Do some brainstorming and create a description of the perfect job. I really enjoy going through this process with clients, because most people have not really considered it before. Ask yourself, if you could describe the perfect job what would you do? Be as detailed as possible at this stage. What does your workspace look like? What does it sound like? Who are the people you work with? The more details you can add to your ideal job, the more you can focus on what is important to you, and honestly it will help you identify exactly the type of job you want. This will help prevent you from pursuing options that won’t help you reach your ideal job. Give careful consideration to what you want, and to what you don’t want. It’s important to have ideas about both.
Understanding yourself means knowing who you are, your personality, and what makes you who you are. No two people will do any job exactly the same. What is it that makes you unique? What do you do that nobody else does? Defining your purpose and skill set is critical. I know people that are really good at making companies money, they find leaks in their processes and help them maximize efficiencies. Others are skilled in the area employee development. These people focus more on the human aspects of a company rather than the operations. How do you work best? What is your style? Do you collaborate, or are you independent? When you are given a task, do you jump right in? Do you need time to analyze, plan and ponder? Discovering the answers to these questions will help you clarify and align with your goal.
Skills and Training Analysis
If you were going on vacation, you’d probably do some planning on how you’ll get where you are going. You might book a flight and rent a car to get you to your destination. These are the tools you need to help you get from where you are to where you need to go. In your career, your skills and training are your tools. After you’ve defined and described the ideal job, you need to identify what skills are required to perform that job at a high level? Create a plan to develop the skills and training necessary to perform that job. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Get those skills now, don’t wait until you are in the job! Put yourself in a position to perform at your ideal job the moment the opportunity is presented.
Yes marketing…I used the M word. You can be the best in the business, but if nobody knows, then it’s useless. How will people find out about you? Who do you need to meet? What projects do you need to work on? Your resume is obviously one way to market yourself, but in today’s world that is only a small piece. Before they will add you to their team, employers want to know who you are. What is your reputation? Social media sites like LinkedIn are super important. Potential employers can look at LinkedIn and see who you are and what you’ve done. Getting recommendations, and endorsements helps. If other people are talking about you, it adds credibility to the accomplishments you put on your resume. There is no substitute for meeting people face-to-face, even in this digital age. Start networking. Get to know people the people that are working in your desired career. Once you have established relationships with them, learn about the people they surround themselves with. This helps you learn the lingo, be familiar with the players, and helps people learn about you. This goes a long way to getting the endorsements and recommendations needed to promote your career.
This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge is to work on your personal career plan! This should be a fun exercise, but take it seriously. Put some planning into it, after all it is your career. You own it, you’re responsible for it.
Are you Serious About Creating a Career Path to Success?
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Quote of the Week
“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
– Sir Winston Churchill