Your job is one of the most, if not the most, important asset you have. We consistently tell our clients to actively manage their career and develop and stay on top of, their professional development. In order to do this, you must have a professional development plan, or strategic career plan. Having and following this plan will enable you to stay marketable, get that next promotion, and more easily land your next position at another organization if that’s your goal. It will also allow you to remain challenged and therefore fulfilled in your career long term because you know what you want and have plans to achieve those things.
To create your plan, first imagine where you want to be in five years professionally. Consider the job title, the organization you want to work for, the type of people you want to work with, the responsibilities you’ll have, and the salary as well. Then work backwards. To achieve that goal, where do you want to be in three years, and then in one year. If you start with five years, this will push you to dream big. Then, working backwards, you can better gauge where you should be in one year and three years to reach your goal.
After you have a general vision, create an action plan that you can check in on every six months. Set a recurring calendar appointment with yourself to check on your plan every six months to ensure you review and adjust it. Find a mentor or career coach who will help hold you accountable to your action items as well.
So what sort of things should you consider including in your professional development plan? Print out our Ideal Career Model below to understand the 8 things you need to consider to define your long term career direction. Considering each piece of this model will enable you to understand what you need to include in your plan. This is the model we use with our clients every day to help them determine their career direction and define long term career fulfillment.
- Fulfillment. To know what fulfills you, think about how you define success. What does success mean to you and how do you want that to look in 5 years?
- Compensation. Think about what your ideal compensation would be, and then determine what is realistic for your career path in five years.
- Strengths. Determine what your strengths are now, and where you would like them to be in your five-year plan. Interview others who are in the job you’d like to have in 5 years, and ask them what helped them to develop their strengths.
- Experience. Consider what experience is needed to get to the next level of your professional development plan. How can you get the experience that you need to keep progressing toward your 5-year goal?
- Education. Will reaching your five-year goal require more education than what you currently have? Are there opportunities that you could take advantage of now to help you reach your one-, three-, and five-year plans?
After you have reviewed these questions, review the career model below in its entirety to determine each element you need to consider to complete your career plan.
HallieCrawford.com was founded by certified career coach, speaker and author Hallie Crawford. Since 2002, the company’s team of certified career coaches have helped thousands of job seekers worldwide identify their ideal career path, navigate their career transition and achieve their career goals. Schedule a free consult with us today to learn more about our services.
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