It’s assumed that 90 percent of our daily lives is spent doing routine tasks instead of achieving your career dreams. But a habit can be a bad thing, because “if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep on getting what you’ve always got.”
One of the most important things you can do to achieving your career dreams for 2018. Whether you want to change jobs, or careers, or simply get more out of your current job, a career plan is extremely important to helping you reach your goals.
- Evaluate where you are
To figure out where you’re going, you must first look at where you’ve been. Here are some questions to help you evaluate where you are:
What are you most proud of this past year — personally, and professionally?
What went right this year?
Did you receive any awards or recognition this year?
Did you take on any more responsibility this year? If so, what?
How did you take initiative in your job this year?
Have you learned any new skills?
Did you earn any certifications or licenses?
Record this information in a success journal. A Microsoft Word file on your computer, Evernote, a series of emails you send to yourself, or even a physical notebook will work. And in the coming year, take time to record the things that were completed as you go through the year instead of waiting until the end of the year.
Next, look for opportunities for improvement in your career. How does your salary stack up against your peers? Is your current position matching up in a straight line with your things that are the most important and your core values? Where is change needed?
- Decide what you want
What do you want? What does it look like? What does it feel like? You have to really want it to invest the time and energy to follow your dream. Describe your ideal job:
What is your ideal employer?
How much would your dream job pay?
What are the most important benefits, other than salary, that would cause you to go to work for a new company?
Describe your ideal job; the position you would most like to have. What is the job title, responsibilities, who you would report to, who would report to you? Would it involve travel? Do you want to work independently, as part of a team or both? Do you like short time projects or long-term projects?
What do you want your next job to do for you that your last job didn’t do? In other words, what will be different about your next job? Is there anything that you do in your current job that you don’t want to do in your next job?
You should also write down why you are interested in making the change. In other words, what is your reason for taking this path? Another good question to ask yourself is, “How will I know when I’ve reached my goal(s)?”
- Make a Plan
Take the time to prepare a game plan on achieving your career dreams. But don’t use planning as an excuse to delay working. Take each of your goals and write down the list of steps under each of them that you will need to take to make the goal happen. The more individual steps you can map out, the easier it will be for you to reach your goals. The steps should be practical tasks that will lead you to achieve the goal.
Give yourself milestones so that you can measure your progress. How will you know when you’re on the right track? Include clearly stated dates and numbers in your milestone.
- Building A Career Road Map
If you are working through the steps and discover you need to add more items, update your job list. You may also discover more projects that need to be completed to make the next step, and the overall goal, easier to complete. You may also find that you need to make changes to your timeline.
As you work your way through your job list, focus on the actions you are taking, understanding that if you are taking the right actions, these should eventually lead to the results you look for. If you’re not getting the results you want, change the plan, not the goal. Re-examine your tasks and see if there is something you are missing.
It can also be helpful to get outside feedback. Enlisting the help of a responsibility for behavior partner; a friend, family member, coach, resume writer, or therapist, can provide valuable opinion about your progress. This individual can also keep you on track, making sure you are working through your job list. And if there are particular areas where you need help in order to cross the job off your list, make sure you ask for help.
For example, writing a resume to support a career change can be very hard. Enlisting the help of a professional resume writer can help you cross that job off your list.
- Building Your Career Road Map
When you’re on a trip, it can help to occasionally evaluate where you are to make sure you’re on the right road. If you miss a step along the way, or take a “wrong turn” — you can find yourself a long way from your meant destination. So plan occasional evaluations of your progress along the way. This can be a monthly “check-up” where you review your plan and make any necessary changes, or a quarterly review.
Taking the time to think through — and plan out — your career roadmap is an important step in helping you create the career you want for yourself, and achieve your career dreams. If you don’t, you may find your career stuck or stalled. Or you may wake up five years from now and wonder, “How did I get here?”
Hopefully the five tips would come in handy when it comes to achieving your career dreams.