A career plan is a list of long and short-term career goals and the steps you must take to reach your destination. When you develop a career plan, it guides your professional journey, informing the actions you take, the jobs you apply for and accept, the way you spend your free time, and more. This road-map can help you stay focused on your journey, providing a clear path to success as you define it.
What is Your Ultimate Career Goal?
Whether you are a recent grad or a seasoned veteran, you should have a long-term career goal for yourself. Whether it’s a specific job title, a specific company you want to work for, a dollar amount you want to earn, or something else entirely, your career plan starts and ends with that ultimate goal. If you aren’t sure where it is you want to end up, engage in some self-reflection. You might not have a clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve, but you can form an idea based on your interests, passions, the skills you like to use, and how you see yourself spending your earning years.
Work On Your Five-Year Plan
When you define your career goal, one thing will be certain: You can’t get there overnight. You’ve got a long road ahead of you, and that can be overwhelming. The key to reaching your destination is to break that overarching goal into something attainable in the near future. To do that, ask yourself where you want to be in five years. Where do you want to work? What job title would you like to hold? What salary are you aiming for?
Once you have defined a five-year goal, ask yourself if there are any gaps must you close in order to get to that goal. Do you need to learn new skills? Will you need to relocate for better opportunities? At this stage, just identify the gaps, don’t worry about how you will close them.
Break Your Goals Down Even Further
Now that you’ve got a short-term goal and you’ve identified the challenges you need to overcome to get there, break it down even further into one-year goals. Outline the steps you need to take this year to get you closer to your desired result. It might mean enrolling in courses, asking for more responsibility at work or looking for a new place to work. Every time you achieve a milestone, re-evaluate your plan and adjust it as necessary. You may find that you’re moving faster than you thought, or things may move a bit slower. You may also find that as you move forward and upward, your big-picture goals change. Career plans can be fluid based on current circumstances, so have some flexibility with yourself.
At least once a month, sit down with your plan to remind yourself of your goals, review your progress and then reward yourself when you reach a milestone. Celebrating success will help keep you motivated to press forward towards your ultimate dream.
As you move through your career journey, it pays to have an expert on your side to help you take each step up the ladder. If you are a recent college graduate, or if you are about to graduate soon and want to get a head start on your career, the recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions are here to help. We will partner with you to match you with positions that align with your goals, moving you towards your ultimate destination. Contact us to learn more about our commitment to your success.