When WAS the last time you worked on your career plan? Ideally, you have one and work on it regularly. You are the captain of your own career, so it is up to you to chart your course and make the course corrections as you go. Do you know where you want to be in five years? Are you prepared for termination? You do need to update your plan periodically, as your current position and goals change over time.
Write it down. No matter what format you use to organize your career plan; a vision board, timeline, flow chart, mission statement, or outline; put it all on paper. You need to be able to review and revise your plan as your career grows.
Break it out. Set short term and long term goals. Planning only over the long term can be discouraging, so set some short term goals for yourself so you can see the progress you make as you pass those milestones. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10, or by the end of your career? Set your goals out in your plan. Make note of what you need to do to enhance your career and move it forward, then take each step in turn.
Shore it up. Make contingency plans now, so you can respond quickly and effectively in times of sudden change. Have a termination plan ready. Anyone can find themselves holding a pink slip these days. Jobs are no longer as permanent as they once were, so it’s wise to be prepared. Be sure your social media is up-to-date and have ongoing relationships with recruiters and contacts within your network. What if you (or your spouse) are promoted and transferred? Be prepared for unexpected positive transitions, too.
Once you have your career plan laid out on paper, don’t forget to revisit. Put it in your calendar. As your career grows and as you progress, you’ll need to update and change the master plan to reflect that growth and change. If you are unsure what direction you want to steer your career, it might be a good time to consider working with a Career Coach who can help you define your goals and put together a solid plan.