Mapping Your Career Path

If you are one of those people who take their career very seriously and if you have definite plans for how your career should develop and unfold, then mapping your career’s growth can help you know if you are staying on the path you chose or not. It can let you know if it’s time to kick things into overdrive or perhaps time to reevaluate your career plans.

Getting Started

Before you can create your own map, there are some things about yourself you will need to consider.

  • Know your own value system. This means the things that are important to you and the places in the sand where you draw the line.
  • Identify Your Life Goal. This is the reason you work, the achievement of a particular goal, the light at the end of the tunnel. You cannot know how well you are doing at moving toward your goal if you haven’t identified what it is.
  • Name your strengths and weaknesses. Do not hide them or cover them up. Embrace them. They will guide you down your career path.
  • Understand your likes and dislikes. If you are to succeed in your chosen career, you have to enjoy what you are doing for the better part of the time. A career that pays great won’t serve you well if you hate to do it.
  • List the skills you currently have and those you need to get to the goal. These will help give you direction along the way.

Making the Map

Once you have all the necessary information, you can begin to break your career path into a map that will help you grow into your career goal and become truly happy with what you’ve accomplished.

  1. Break your career into manageable 1 to 2-year blocks each with its own mini-goal or milestone. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. That means you have to be able to realistically achieve it within the timeframe you’ve laid out. This step relies heavily on using your strengths and weaknesses profile and your value system. You may want to employ the services of a mentor or career counselor to help you with this part.
  2. For the current period, you need to plan what you need to do to reach the goal set for this period. This might include changing jobs, changing companies, or learning the new skills needed to get you to the next step. And beware: try not to think too small! Convince yourself that you’re ready for the next move!
  3. Write down your specific goals for the next twelve months. If staying in the job you are in, or at the company you work for, is part of the plan, try to enlist the help of your immediate supervisor. Sometimes they can help you get there if they know where you are going. If you think of the healthcare industry or nursing career, check out this post.

It is a good idea to review your plan at least quarterly. This way you don’t get too far off track. Your value system and overall goal are not likely to change but your annual milestones may, and certainly, changes can occur month to month. Keeping your career growth map at the forefront of your mind will help you keep it a priority and in the end, you’ll see, will make you a happy person.