What do you want to be when you grow up?
From childhood through college, almost every individual is asked a variation of this question at some point in their lives. What are you interested in pursuing? What job do you want to do? Where do you want to work?
However, it seems that once that first job offer is received, the questions cease. Sometimes we even stop asking ourselves what we want to do. Why is this?
Regularly evaluating and pinpointing what you want to do (or, “be when you grow up”) is a healthy strategy to play an active role in your own life and not just accept the current circumstances. It’s good for you. Taking the time to ask yourself what you want to do and where you want to be in the future is the first step to designing the career you’ve dreamed of.
So, what is a Career Map?
A career map is a written, typed, or drawn out format that visually organizes steps in your career. It allows you to see exactly where you’ve been and where you are. So then, you can begin to process getting to where you want to be.
Career maps are beneficial because they allow you to break down a lofty goal into smaller, manageable steps. You identify where you are, where you’re going, and then decipher the stepping stones in between.
What’s Included in a Career Map?
In career mapping, it’s important to start with where you want to end up. This isn’t a permanent decision, but it helps identify what milestones are needed to get there. So, if your dream is to become a manager at your current company, that’s where to begin.
Next, write down where you’ve been, and where you are now. Do most individuals get promoted to manager after 5 years at the company, and you’re currently at 3 years? Write that down. Do you already have certain skills and qualifications that a manager needs? Make a note of these.
Now, start filling in the gaps with the milestones needed. Add those additional 2 years you need to become eligible. Write down the necessary Master’s degree. Add the required public speaking skills.
What Does a Career Map Look Like?
Career maps don’t have to be fancy. Using the example above, here is a super simple career map that effectively organizes your career.
End goal: Manager at Current Company
Starting Point: Advanced Analyst
Milestone 1: Enroll in local 2-year MBA program
Milestone 2: Begin taking on tasks at work requiring public speaking skills to refine your abilities
Milestone 3: Complete 2 additional years at company and graduate MBA program
Milestone 4: Apply for Manager role
Yes, it’s that easy. And its effective. Give it a shot and let us know what you think!
Debi is a coach to high performers, leaders and business owners wanting to achieve more and grow beyond what they believe is possible. Known for her clarifying insight and a pragmatic approach, Debi brings her clients to the next step by asking the right questions during strategy development and supporting them during strategy implementation. With experience in management, recruitment and employee development for various industries, she has a wide scope of expertise and will confidently guide you towards a successful future in your career.
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