One of the biggest mistakes we can make is assuming that our career will naturally progress with experience. Similar to other goals, achieving your career aspirations takes strategic planning and execution.
Have you created an actionable strategy when it comes to your professional career? Kathy Leck of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management recommends evaluating where you are in your career and where you would like to be. Below are some methods and measurable tools to help you take the strategic lead in your own career:
- Step 1: Review previous roles, accomplishments and opportunities
Evaluate previous professional opportunities and accomplishments to see what you enjoyed or disliked and to create a definition of your ideal future role. What have you contributed to your organization in a tangible way? What kind of environment do you prefer? When and where do you feel your best at work?
- Step 2: Assess personal skills
Your skills change and improve every year you are employed. Make a list of your knowledge-based and interpersonal skill sets. What are you good at? What skills need improvement? How competitive are your talents within your niche sector?
- Step 3: Visualize your progression
What does your ideal new role look like? What would you be able to contribute if you had it? Articulate how it would evolve and what it would entail in detail.
- Step 4: Map out your action plan
Heading into your goal without mapping out an action plan won’t get you the results you desire.
- Step 5: Set measurable timelines
Work backwards from a proposed date or year and break down your action plan into measurable units and measurable experiences you need to have. Schedule check-in dates and benchmarks to monitor your progress.