How to Create Your Career Plan

career planning help

Have you set your intention for the coming year? If so, great – now you need a career plan to help you put your plans into action and achieve your goals. (And if you haven’t yet read about setting your intention, check that out first.) Taking the time to plan how you are going to get there takes time and effort, but it’s the best way to ensure success. Here’s how to get started.

Plan a Career Route Map

Once you know where you’re going, you need to determine how you are going to get where you want to be. Just like planning any trip – decide where to start, end, and all the stops in between – your career plan should have a destination and possibly some midpoints.

career planning route mapFor example, if you are a project manager who wants to become the department director, you will probably need a few other roles or different experience to help you get the skills you need. To help you decide what these are, look at the job description for your future position or search for current vacancies. These will often contain the skills you need, such as business development, client and project management, and staff recruitment and growth, for instance.

Once you have a list of skills, try to match these to jobs, projects, or activities. So, if you need client management experience, a position as the senior project manager with a regular client can help you develop this. If you need to build your business development experience, learn who does this in your company and what they do – perhaps you could attend some of the same events and shadow them. A specific project may offer you the chance to develop your technical abilities in an area you would normally not get a chance to work on. Once you have identified these steps, you have a working plan.

Find Some Help

When your plan is ready, it’s worth reviewing it with someone who can help you identify any gaps as well as potential career opportunities. This is where a mentor can help you refine and focus your efforts. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be in the position that you want to achieve either, as long as they have a good understanding of what that role involves. If you are not sure who to ask, see my post about finding a mentor for some tips.

Focus Your Time

career planning takes timeOnce you have decided where you want to go and how you’re going to do it, honestly evaluate how much time and dedication it is going to take you to achieve the goal you’ve set yourself. If you can’t commit that much effort, then it is better to set yourself a new, more achievable goal than trying to stick with a career plan that – ultimately – doesn’t help you. Taking a series of small steps and making continued progress is often more beneficial (and easier to manage) than big jumps.

Ready, Set, Go

Now you’ve got your action plan, you’re ready to kickstart your career and start heading in the right direction for you. Next time, I’ll give you some of my own strategies that I use to set – and stick to – my goals, such as writing my book, Health Well Done: A Patient-Centered Management Approach to Building Healthcare Environments. Until then, why not share your thoughts about this post with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter? I’d love to hear from you.