When it comes to driving your career forward, the sheer volume of choices and pathways can be overwhelming. But oftentimes, the issue isn’t necessarily the number of options, but the lack of strategy in the brainstorming and decision-making process. With this in mind, let’s explore how to utilize strategy to build a solid and exciting career map
What exactly is a career map?
In a nutshell, a career map is your strategy-focused guide to reaching your desired advancement in your career and business, and by extension, in life! It’s personal development and professional development planning and should be a part of any career development program.
A career map is part of the career coaching process and it takes all your ideas and puts the moving parts together in one plan. It identifies the tangible next steps you’ll need to take to make progress, and it should be fun and exciting..
An effective career map should include the following:
🤩 Opportunities to refine your talents and lean into your strengths
🤩 Clarity on what impact you want to make in your life’s work
🤩 New projects or opportunities that allow you to expand your network or industry
🤩 Collaborations where you get to work as a team and build your interpersonal skills
🤩 Things that you will do – because they will be fun!
Here is how to get started building a career map:
DIG DEEPER INTO YOUR GOALS
As with any good strategy, start with a deep dive. Strategy is a higher level of thinking so when applying your goals, avoid making assumptions and look way deeper into what you really want.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself:
- What are you looking for in your life and business journey?
- What is the lifestyle you want to live?
- What are your values?
- What is the contribution you want to make?
- Where are your interests and personal growth edges?
- What experiences do you need to have to give you the right opportunity for advancement?
The aim here is to get clear on some immediate short-term goals to get you started on the right path. Your career map is going to change every year or few years so make this fun and think strategically.
IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS
Start by really understanding who you are and where you shine. There are some excellent leadership and career coaching-focused strengths and personality assessments out there. I recommend the following to all of my coaching clients:
Several of my career coaching clients found this one too and really enjoyed it:
Double down on your strengths and create opportunities to put them to use, and eventually refine and master them. Look for opportunities in your community and areas of interest. Remember, workplaces are NOT the only places for personal development and professional growth.
This strategic approach is pivotal to building a solid, goals-driven career map and most importantly one that will bring engagement, fulfillment, and joy!
TAKE THE LEAP
One of the biggest challenges I’ve observed from those looking to take the next step in their professional journey—no matter their goals—is the fear of the unknown. Whether it’s starting a side hustle or going back to school, there’s this internal pressure that emerges when you venture out of your comfort zone.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Seek opportunities with short time-lines, 3-6 months
- Nothing has to be permanent
- Every experience is valuable
- Work with a mentor (how to find a mentor)
There you have it! Building an effective career map that will truly move you forward doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process! The key is to ask your gut what your interests and goals are, research what tangible steps can help you reach them, and approach every next step as a learning opportunity.
If you are looking to create a winning strategic career map, consider our strategy-focused career coaching programs found here.