A career map is your lifeboat plan for if your career were to suddenly hit the rocks. You need to have a career map so you always know where you’re going in your professional life. A career map helps in finding the right path or tells about other paths one can get onto. Here are some tips for building a map that will ensure you never get lost in your career.
If something were to happen that made you either have to or want to leave your current job, that does not necessarily mean you’d have to leave the organisation altogether. Quite often there are opportunities for progression and growth within your current company that may be worth exploring for future reference even if you’re happy with your present role.
Your career map needs to identify who the key recruiting agents are in your professional field. Once you’ve worked out who the people you need to know are, make contact with them – after all, they need to know who you are so they can get in touch with you whenever anything suitable for you comes up.
When making your career map you have to identify who in your professional network is going to help you manage your career and who isn’t. Look at your list of contacts and have a good weeding out session to get rid of anyone who’s not useful to you. Once you’ve done that, take note of who you have left in your connections and think about who you might reach out to now to ensure their goodwill in the future. For example you might start by arranging to meet up with the people who you know will probably be useful to you in the next three months or so.
Replace the contacts you’ve removed from your list with people who you know will be more useful to you going forward. Put yourself in a position to meet people relevant to your current field or future ambitions by attending networking events, offering to speak at conferences and asking existing connections to introduce you to people who can help you in your career.
Your career map needs to look at the short term, the medium term and the long term. Set appropriate goals for different stages of your life and career. What we mean by “the long term” doesn’t have to be too far into the distant future – we do appreciate that the further out you go the harder it is to keep your objectives specific because it’s impossible to know what exactly will be happening 5 or 10 years down the line. You may just want to set the short-term goals for the next month or so, the long-term goals for the next 2 years and the medium-term goals for somewhere in-between.