The Importance of Career Mapping
If you have not read Part 1 – Setting Up A Good Foundation three part series, please read up first on how to begin setting up your career foundation.
Career mapping is a useful way of figuring out where you want to go in your career. It helps you determine where you are in your current career, whether you want to change career and how long it will take verses what experience you need to get there. Most often people take the high road or take shortcuts. However, taking shortcuts often leads to wasting time, energy and money. Take the time to thoroughly to map out your career goals. This is where Career Mapping comes in. Let’s review Part 1.
Part 1- Setting Up a Good Foundation talked about my recommended three step method to assist you in determining your next career path. I will then go into some details on how to career mapping can be used with these steps. The three steps are:
Step 1. Identify a career choice and research options
Step 2. Document your Requirements
Step 3. Set your goals, Take action
Career mapping seem like a lot of work right? Not at all. It is one of the most important things you should do. If you follow my simple steps below, you will quickly know where you are headed.
Before you can select a career choice you need to know if you have the skills, knowledge and ability to obtain it. Remember, you are not just looking for a job you are looking for a long-term career, something that you can grow, develop and succeed in. Most importantly, something you love to do. This process will also help you recognize where you are and what you need to do to get there. The main objective is to:
- Discover your strength/weakness
- Keep you “honest” with yourself and what you can really do
- Discover what are you willing and NOT willing to do
- Ignite your aspirations and motivations
- Keep you “on task” with your career goals
I like to tell my workshop attendees to perform a self audit. In this audit, you will write down your skills (strongest first to weakness), how long you used these skills whether or not you want to continue using these skills, and whether you want to improve them. You can use any software to document this information e.g. MS Word, Excel, etc as long as you can clearly understand your information. Once you have completed this step, take a look at what you have written and notice your current status.
Questions: Do you have the skills and knowledge you were striving for, or do you need more training? Can you see yourself in using these skills for the long term, or are you considering a change?
Now, find out where you fit in today. Use the internet, newspapers and related information to search for the job position you are in now. Make special note of the job requirements so you can get an idea of what other companies are looking for. Also search websites that can give you estimates on the current salary offered for this job. The point of this exercise is for you to know if your career is in still in demand or not, what requirements have changed and to discover if you have met the requirements.
Questions: What has changed in your position i.e. salary, requirements, education, job demand? Do you want to stay in this career field, or are you considering a change?
Now that you have an idea of where you are in your current position, now let’s look for career you “want” in the future. Perform a search for the next level up, notating the requirements for that position. Make sure you only do this for the jobs you have a 1/3 to 1/2 match for skills, knowledge and abilities. Note, you will not be applying for these positions. The objective is to find out what it is going to take to get that type of career. Once you have documented this information, now look at where you are verses the goal.
Questions: Are you following your career goal or have you digressed? If so, is your resume showing progression towards your target career? If not, are you surprised or are you disappointed?
Take Action and Get There
At this point, you need to decide whether you are going to pursue your goal or stick with what you have and improve upon it. Here is when career goal setting comes into play. Whether or not you are looking for a new career, change careers or coming out of retirement, knowing where you are going in your career will ensure you pick a career that is in demand so you can stay employed. In Part 1 I talked about starting in advance and buffering in 3-4 month to research the market. This gives you time to obtain short-term goals that will help you towards your long-term goals. Below is some goal setting tips you can use to help you.
Career Road Map