Career plans are a great tool that are often undervalued, overlooked and forgotten. No matter what stage you are at in your career, having a plan can help provide clarity and guide you when making tough decisions.
Whenever you set out on a new path, having goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) will help you in achieve targets and stay on track. Below are 4 key steps to building an achievable Career Plan.
- Set your goal.
What is your ideal job? Assuming you have decided on a career, what is your ideal role within this profession? Are you looking to go into management or would you like to become more specialised? If you are a receptionist, becoming an Executive Assistant or an Office Manager may be a great target to reach for. It is important to ensure this is a specific position, relevant to your chosen profession and achievable.
- Map it out.
What positions are between you and your dream role? Analysing the typical steps people take in order to reach your ideal role will provide a clear path to follow. If you are a Customer Service Representative wanting to manage the department, the next steps may be Team Leader, Area Manager then Department Manager. If you are changing careers completely, the first step may even be to go and study. Again, ensure you are specific in mapping the roles along the way.
- Put a timer on it.
How long is it going to take to reach each milestone? From your current position, set a time frame for each role standing in between you and your goal. Make sure these time targets are specific and achievable. This element really is the measuring and time-based components of a SMART goal. It is one of the most important components and will really dictate how your career plays out and hold you accountable for any setbacks or becoming stuck in a rut.
- Go for it.
There is no time like the present. If you need to ask for a promotion, apply for a new job or go back and study to kickstart your Career Plan then now is the time.
While you may at any time in your career change your mind and direction, you should always prioritise keeping to an up-to-date Career Plan.