Mapping out your career can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. You want to have a rewarding career for the long term and in order for that to happen, you need to have a plan in place. Without a career plan, you may wander aimlessly without any direction.

By mapping out your career plan, you envision your career in the future. Think down the line one year, three years, and five years. Once you have visualized that, then you can begin to plan on a quarterly basis to see if you are in line with your career plan.

To get started, think about:

  • What your values are, what your strengths and skills are, and what you enjoy in your work.
  • What your definition of career success is relative to your career trajectory.
  • Whether or not you feel your current career is fulfilling to you.
  • How you can progress within your current career or identify ways to transition into a new career path.

Now that you have analyzed all of that, you need to take this information and break it down into your one-, three-, and five-year plan so you can map it out. Make sure to include goals for each of these time frames to help you to visualize what skills you need to acquire in order to achieve your goals. You should also identify what obstacles may prevent you from these goals. If you do this, you will be able to anticipate how to overcome these obstacles.

In addition, a value proposition can be a great add-on to your career plan. A value proposition outlines what makes you unique and what sets you apart from other candidates/employees. Assess what your strengths and weaknesses are. From there you can see what makes you unique and what skills you have to offer. Also, make a list of resources. These are people you know and can network with. This can be valuable to you as your career plan takes shape.

A career plan gives you a general direction. It is not a concrete plan that you must adhere to no matter what. It can be altered as time progresses. But it gives you a plan of where you want to be headed and how you are going to go about it.