Personal development and career plan
If you’re pondering how you’re going to get where you want to be, there are some simple steps you can take that will help you create your own career development plan. Let’s not be confused by the word “simple.”
Related: The Importance Of Having A Solid Career Plan
Sometimes the simplest of concepts or steps can be tough to do because they require some thinking and some effort. Yet, your think time and effort are an investment in your future and happiness, which make it all very worthwhile.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Destination
As with all efforts, you must be clear about your direction when you create your own career development plan. You don’t take a road trip without knowing where you want to end up. You also don’t need to overly complicate this task. I think the following questions are helpful in thinking out your destination.
Where do you want your career to be in two years?
- I like this question because this window is close enough to your current reality that it is easy to visualize.
Where do you want your career to be in five years?
- If you see that your two-year goal is merely a step in an overall direction, then this question helps you define a longer term goal. Sometimes it’s difficult to see that far out in time, as life and opportunities present themselves and can cause you to reset your plans. That’s okay, but it’s good to be looking “two steps ahead.”
What makes these targets resonant for you?
- Don’t make a goal just for the sake of making one. You need a goal that really rings your chimes and helps to motivate you into action. If you’re making a goal based on what someone else wants, it also isn’t going to be that compelling for you. Being clear on your direction means being clear that this direction is inspiring and motivational and knowing what is driving you to it.
Step 2: Do A Gap Analysis
A gap analysis is where you figure out the differences in the qualifications between where you are right now and your two-year goal or next step.
Using a job posting or job description for the position you are aiming at is a good way to get specific information about the skills and experience that are expected. I think it is good to get more than one job description (perhaps one with your company and one with a competitor) in order to ensure you aren’t missing any key items during your analysis.
Go through the job description line item by line item and rate your current state of skills, education, or experience to what is listed. Your rating system can be as simple as 1-10, with ten a perfect match and one being completely missing. As you rate, make notes about your thinking for future reference.