Developing Your Career Strategy
By Michael Fox, NRWA, CPRW, MBA
Most people begin their careers with certain expectations in mind. You may see yourself in a corner office some day or on the front lines of the sales force. You may feel that you are cut out for a leadership position or one that offers innovation and advancement to the creative side of the company. You may want to hold an executive staff position or be in charge of a large profit area. Whatever your dreams and expectations, they are more likely to come to fruition if you have a plan of action.
Simply wanting to advance your career is not enough. Get specific about your goals. First, begin by setting out the basics. What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to be a local or regional manager? Do you want to be a partner or the CEO? Be specific and do not be afraid to aim high. Now work backwards from there. What kind of experience and skills would a CEO or manager need? Write out the positions you think would be required before someone was advanced to the position you are seeking. You might need to be in charge of various departments before taking the reigns of the entire organization.
Next, look at your time schedule. By what date do you want to achieve this ultimate goal. Be specific and realistic. If you are working in the mailroom, becoming CEO in three years is probably not going to happen. Write out a timeline of the steps you need to take to get to your goal. In a year, what position or experience do you need to have? What about in two years?
Once you have this basic information down, look at your skill set. What is missing? It is vital that you take advantage of any training or development that your company offers. Do this between each review period. If you are reviewed every three months, then schedule some sort of training for yourself four times a year so that your boss will see you making continuous progress toward the next level.
Finally, take stock of where you are now. How long have you been at the company? In that time, what have you accomplished? Do you need to step up your progress? If you have been there for two years in the same position with no further training other than the basic skills you acquired when you were hired, it is time to be proactive about your career path. Take some initiative and get involved in projects that give you the experience you need. Tell the higher ups that you are interested in a move to the next level and ask them what you need to do to get there.
Overall, the more specific and detailed your plan, the easier it will be to enact and the more successful you will be in reaching your goals.
Making Your Career Success Our #1 Priority
The Resume Professionals Team