Establishing a career plan is a key ingredient to climbing the professional ladder. Just like in many aspects of life, when you don’t have a plan it’s harder to tell if you’re moving in the right direction. Without a written course of action to hold you accountable, it’s easy to get sidetracked or become comfortable in the position you’re in.
Career Pathing is a great way to help you chart a course within your organization for career planning and development. It involves setting goals for your career and benchmarks to measure success by first understanding what knowledge, skills, and experiences are required to progress, defining what opportunities are available, and developing a plan to reach those goals. Follow the below steps to begin establishing a career plan with measurable benchmarks.
Conduct a self-assessment.
The first step in establishing a career plan is to take a look in the mirror and figure out what about your interests, skills, values and personality drives you to be successful in your career. Take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions:
- What’s most important to you?
- What is the ideal position you’d like to be in at the peak of your career?
- Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Asking yourself these questions helps set priorities that are long-term. You need to clear about your direction in order to be successful. If you don’t know where you want to go, then you may not be satisfied with where you end up. Determining where you’d like to be in increment amounts of times helps you stay grounded in reality but have focus on what you’re driving towards.
After determining your end goal, figure out what attracts you to that goal. If you establish goals that won’t be fulfilling to you, you’re less likely to put in the effort it takes to achieve them. You want a goal that keeps you motivated.
Validate your goals.
Don’t make career goals just for the sake of making them or because you think it’s what someone else wants. Ask these questions to make sure you’ve set the right goals for yourself:
- Why do you want to reach these goals?
- How will you feel when these goals are reached?
- What challenges and rewards will you face in working towards these goals?
If you have trouble answering these questions, or feel that the challenge will be greater than the reward, you may want to revisit your goals.
Define the gaps.
Once you’ve determined your goals and assessed your strengths and weaknesses, the next step is to figure out what challenges and opportunities are currently between you and your goals. Start with finding a few job descriptions similar to your dream job to get specific information about the required skills and experience. Read through the descriptions and compare your current education, skills, and experience to what is required. Identify where the biggest gaps are. You’ll start to notice areas in which you need to grow the most. Turn these themes into action items. For example, if the descriptions all require certain certifications that you don’t have, start researching how to obtain those.
Create an action plan.
Creating an action plan is the most important part of your career plan. Here you’ll define the steps you will actually take to work towards achieving your goals. Compile a list of everything that needs to be done. Include steps such as earning educational credits, obtaining new certifications, changing industries, or being promoted to a management position in your industry. Prioritize steps and put them in the order in which they should be completed. Set an ideal timetable for completing each step. While you may not stick to this initial timeline, it will help set guidelines to hold you accountable.
Share your plan with a friend or mentor. They’ll be able to give you advice to help you progress from step to step. It will also help to have someone else to hold you accountable to carrying out your plan.
Is finding an exciting new opportunity the next step in your career plan? Let the experienced recruiters at BOS Staffing help. Whether you’re looking for long- or short-term work, or want to work locally or across the country, we have access to a variety of openings in Northeast Georgia and beyond. At BOS, we go out of our way to match the right talent with the right employers. Give us a call today to fast track your job search.