In school, we were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and there were many answers to that question– doctor, writer, teacher, police officer. Although you may not have the job that you wanted at the age of six, is your current job the one that you want to have for the rest of your career?
Your job is what you do day to day, and it will typically include set tasks and responsibilities as well as a leader that advises you. A career is the journey you will take throughout your working life. It is comprised of many jobs and positions, and the way that this journey unfolds is determined by your personal passions, goals, and decisions.
These five prompts will help you determine what you want out of your career and then outline where you have been and where you would like to go with a Career Plan. This plan will provide you with insights on what you appreciate about your current position as well as ideas for changes you would like to eventually see. Your Career Plan will also include specific goals for you to accomplish. By laying out your goals and skills in this way, you will have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and what you need to get there.
1. How did you get here?
Begin your Career Plan by reflecting on what has brought you to your current position. Include your education, previous jobs or experiences, and why you originally chose this position and industry. These notes will help you determine whether you want to remain in your position, organization, or industry as well as give an idea of what you can use to help your development in the future.
2. What do you like about your current and previous positions? What do you dislike?
The answers to these questions could relate to the culture or workplace as well as your assigned tasks and projects. Reflect on what was asked of you and moments when you felt the most accomplished in these positions. No job is perfect, but by listing the positives and opportunities for improvement of your current and previous positions, you will be able to see what you prioritize and want to see in your future.
3. What would you like to change about your current position?
As you are writing your Career Plan, you are also looking into where you want to be in the future. Based on your answers to the previous question, decide how you would change your current position. While you may want to stay where you are, consider how improvements to the position could make it better for you and your lifestyle. Try to be specific and understand why you made these choices. For example, you may decide that you want to be able to have flexible start and end times for your workday. Why? Because your children get out of school at 3:00 pm and you want to be home to take care of them. Being specific in your choices and reasoning will enable you to understand your priorities and desires as you progress in your career.
4. Identify your transferable skills.
These skills can be soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, or critical thinking. They can also be hard skills like experience in programs or software, data analysis, and marketing. As you write your list, consider how you could be improving your skills or using them in a different way in your current position. Where do you see yourself using these skills in the future?
5. What are your goals in the short-, medium-, and long-term?
After reflecting on where you have been and where you are now, it’s time to look towards the future. Use your answers to the prior questions to guide what you want in your future and career. Will you develop within your current position? Will you vie for a promotion in your organization? Do you need to completely switch fields? This is the space for you to decide what comes next.
For short-term goals, decide what you would like to do in the next two years. For your medium-term goals, determine what you want to accomplish in two to ten years. And for your long-term goals, decide what you want to achieve after ten years. These goals should be as actionable as possible, although your long-term goals may be more speculative. Then, for each goal, spend time listing out what needs to happen for you to accomplish it.
Through answering these questions and developing a career plan that you can reference and adapt, you are taking control of your career path as well as actively looking towards what comes next.
For support in developing a career plan for yourself or a career planning process for your organization, contact CMOE today!