No matter where you are in your career, you should always know what your ultimate career objective is, and creating a career map can help outline how you will get there. A career map outlines where you are in your career, where you ultimately want to go and the specific steps you could take to reach that objective.
So how do you go about creating your career map?
1. Know Your Starting Point. The first step in the process of creating a career map is determining your starting point. Understand where you currently are in your career and assess your strengths and weaknesses. Look at what aspects of your job you excel at, any in-demand industry certifications you could have, or any areas where skills gaps could be holding you back. By analyzing where your skill set is and what may be lacking, you can gain insight into the steps you need to take in order to achieve your ultimate goal.
2. Pinpoint a Destination. The second step is to determine your final goal or destination. Do you want to move into upper management? Or are you looking to make a move to a different field altogether? Whether it is becoming a CEO or changing industries, make your ultimate goal specific and measurable.
3. Ask for Directions. The next step is understanding what it takes to advance from one point to another. What positions will you need to fill? What skills and/or qualifications are necessary? Make your interests known to your manager or mentor and ask for input and assistance. Many employers provide resources to support professional development like offering training seminars, higher education reimbursement, specific licensing and more.
4. Pay Attention to Career Map Mile Markers. Since the jump from where you currently are in your career to your dream job may seem overwhelming, break it down into smaller more attainable goals. Establish timelines for what actionable steps need to be taken to further your advancement. By setting smaller goals between your objectives, it can make the process easier, more manageable, and go by faster.
5. Stay Driven. Personal and professional progression requires planning, drive, and discipline. Make sure that whenever you reach a milestone, you take time to acknowledge your success and reflect on the achievement. Career paths often change and evolve as we encounter twists and turns along the way, but by tracking the progress you make, you can keep the momentum going as you inch closer to your ultimate goal!