Whether you are a recent graduate or a more experienced professional, it can be easy sometimes to get lost in the professional world. With positions becoming more versatile and the opportunity to become an entrepreneur is easier than ever, you may find it hard to consistently think about your long-term career goals. In fact, the average professional will change jobs 10-15 times in their career.
We encourage our clients to create a strategic career plan, or a professional development plan. A strategic career plan basically is a map of your professional aspirations for the next year, three years, five years, and ten years. However, you don’t want this to simply be a mechanical process. You want to make sure that you are excited about your long-term goals, so before you start writing down what you think is expected of you or what other people in your career have done, you want to define your career aspirations.
Unfortunately, many professionals skip this first step when they set career goals. In fact, 87 percent of Americans have no passion for their jobs, a result of skipping over this first step in many cases. It’s important to take time to envision what you want to be doing in five or ten years from now. Dream big here and write down anything that comes to your mind in a journal. It’s OK if you have different ideas about where you could be in the future, write each of your ideas down for now knowing that you can narrow your options over time. It is easier to narrow down your ideas, than continue to add ideas to the list. In addition, when you write down your thoughts, you will start to see themes between the career ideas you have, which will help you develop categories for your ideas.
Write down the different career scenarios that you envision, but stick with the ones that line up with the following factors:
- Who are you? For example, think about your values, passion, and interests. What is your personality type? What experience and education do you have? You may find it helpful to take a self-assessment online and ask others you trust for their input.
- Where are you going? Define what kind of lifestyle you want and how much it will cost. Visualize what your ideal work day would entail, including your office, ideal co-workers, and boss.
- How will you get there? What strengths and talents do you have to get you to the next level in your career? Do you need any extra education or experience? A great way to find out is by conducting informational interviews with those who are in the long-term position that you want.
Other questions you should consider are:
- What critical roles do you need over the next 1-5 years and are they available at your current organization?
- Is the current organization the right fit for your career goals?
- Who can provide you with support and accountability?
- Are there any blocks to your success?
When journaling about these factors and dreaming about the future, be honest with yourself. Don’t try to fit yourself into something that isn’t going to work for you.
We would be happy to help you with your career vision! Schedule a free 20-minute consultation today.