Whether you are planning to stay at your current job, move up the career ladder, or open your own business, you probably have an end-goal to reach. But have you ever wondered how and what you need to get there?
Maps and plans are encouraging; they lead us on where to go and show us what our next steps to further our goals should be. However, we all wish career planning was that simple. We are often faced with opportunities and surprising changes that throw us off course. But, that should be a frequent motivation for us to create different kinds of career maps, to help us stay on the right road and scale up our career.
Creating a “roadmap” to outline the steps needed to reach your career goals will help you get a practical grasp on what it is going to take. Three important questions to ask yourself as a start are: Who are you? Where are you going? And how will you get there? Once these questions are tackled there are some steps to take that will help you create a successful career roadmap.
Do a comprehensive self-assessment
Find your strengths and weaknesses, know what you excel at and recognize the areas that need development. Define your work values; what do you like most in a work environment and what values are important to you. Also, don’t forget to figure out what interests you, what you prefer doing in your free time and what you wish you could do if you had more time.
Remember, an important part of this self-knowledge exercise is to classify your skills and rate them on the level of specialization you think you have. I would recommend to familiarize yourself with a skills rating chart as to know where you exactly stand on each skill you list.
Identify possible professions, positions and career options
There are many resources that could help you research job postings and explore the job market in terms of job titles and career options. Bayt.com is the #1 job site in the MENA region and it offers thousands of jobs on a daily basis. Check out what job postings interest you and what seem the most engaging to you, based on the previous step of self assessment. Read about the different jobs, do informational interviews with people who are in occupations that sound interesting to you. Identify how prepared you are for these career starting points.
Strategize to enter the career of your choice
Do a gap analysis here. You found the most appealing job? That’s great! But what’s next? Identify what you need to know about those career choices, analyze what skills, knowledge, training or certifications you need to have to be competitive for these vacancies and what employers look for in their perfect-fit candidate.
But don’t stop at the research, take the next steps to fill in the gaps you found between your current self-assessment and your end-goal. Always ask, how will you be a step closer to your ideal career in a month? Maybe you need to learn a new skill, take an online course, or research a few details.
Once you have figured out the gap and listed what skills or certifications are missing, you have to prioritize these items. Do so by putting the most important gap to be filled in first, and then work on prioritizing your self-development in all aspects. Getting the needed skills and certifications, or at least some of them, will put your foot in the path and will get you closer. But, never forget to keep the commitment, even if the list of skills you need to acquire seems large.
If you are a follower of our Bayt.com blog, you should have noticed by now that networking is an essential step in every career planning or job search strategy. It is mentioned in most of our content again and again. Why network? Networking opens key connections to you, and they allow you to discover and explore chances that aren’t available to others.
Creating connections with individuals who have the same or a similar career path will help you within your career journey. At the end of the day, every person needs help, support, and ideas to ease their path.
Consider other factors
Life changes along the way, opportunities and circumstances pop up frequently in our lives, and you might face some detours. Whatever the case is, your career path should be flexible to adapt to any change you may encounter.
Find a mentor
Finding a guide in your chosen field will help you avoid many mistakes. Be humble enough to learn from others’ journeys and don’t do the same mistakes they have done.
Overcome career inertia
As you begin to follow your career map towards your goals, you might at some point feel a lack of progress. You need to know that at one point or another, you’ll need to ask for a promotion, work towards a higher position, or even change jobs or industries altogether. Change is an essential ingredient to career growth and success. It is important to refuse inertia in your career and to always keep moving, learning, and challenging yourself.
Vision is your future picture. Having a clear vision of what you want and how to achieve it is essential for your career path. It will give you guidance as to which direction you should head and what tools and channels you need in order to merge yourself into the desired career. Can you picture where you will be in five or ten years from now once you start taking the steps to your desired field?
One useful tip on how to set goals that I have read once, and I have been following since then, is to set SMART goals. But what does SMART goals mean? Each letter of the word SMART defines something, and that is a practical way to actually set the goals. Identify Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound goals. How? Identify your goals clearly and specifically, and then include criteria to verify progress. The goal should be realistic and relevant to you, in terms of having at least a 50% chance of success. Then commit to the timeframe you have set.
Creating your career roadmap is not an easy task to do but this guide should help you master the essential ingredients. From all of us here at Bayt.com, we wish you a pleasant journey towards your career goals!
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