After completing the self-assessment and career exploration stages of the career development process, you’re ready to either: 1) conduct a job search, 2) go back to school or 3) start a business. This last stage is where you are trying to answer the important question, “How do I get there?” Now that you know where “there” is, you can now develop a strategy that is going to work for you.
First, begin by writing down your vision statement for your career. Determine where you want to go ideally. The vision must be aligned with your careful inventory of your skills, values, interests and personality traits. Be sure that you are committed to your vision and make it your top priority.
Second, type out your career mission statement. Your career vision explains where you want go and the mission statement describes how you will achieve your vision. Again, be sure you are totally committed to the vision and mission you have for your future. Don’t lose your focus.
Third, you will need to conduct a thorough analysis of the gap between your ideal vision and the reality of where you are now professionally. List out the specific areas that must be overcome to achieve your career objectives. Consider what you are learning about yourself up to this point.
Fourth, start to prioritize the information in the third step from the gap analysis and determine what needs to get done. Ask yourself, “In what order do the specific career barriers need to be addressed?” Develop your list of: 1) Highest Priorities, 2) High Priorities and 3) Lower Priorities.
Fifth, identify and outline possible solutions. What are the methods that you will employ to overcome the career barriers that were prioritized in step four? The goal here is to develop the means to close the gap between the ideal career vision and your current reality.
Sixth, write out your S.M.A.R.T. Goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-Sensitive. If it’s not S.M.A.R.T., it’s not a goal, but merely an idea.
Seventh, begin to identify your strategic partners. Ask yourself, “Who are the individuals and groups that can help me achieve my desired career?” Be sure to have at least 10 on your list.
Eight, implement your S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Think about how you will execute the micro-goals set forth in this action plan to reach your professional dreams. What will you do today to get started?
Ninth, re-evaluate your action plan. What progress have you made to achieve the desired results? What are your criteria for career success? What strategies or techniques need to be modified?
Tenth, show your gratitude. Create a list of all the things about your career that you are thankful for? What do you need to do to pay it forward or help others that are less fortunate?