How to chart your career pathChen Wan Lim
Career pathing is a method used typically by an employee (or even if you are self-employed) to chart your career within an organisation. This includes the career development needed, trainings required, skill sets to be acquired, personal traits required for future roles and time-frame to achieve certain goals and milestones. Career path charting is important as it serves as a road map to reach certain goals set and to know what needs to be done to get there. In addition, career path charting also serves as a guide to what you will be doing each day by cross-checking if your actions are in-line with what you have set out to achieve. Here are some useful advices on how to chart your career path:
Being self-aware and honest
In charting your career path, it is important to be self-aware, realising your strengths and weaknesses, your desires, ambitions, dreams, and interests. You will also need to be honest with yourself, accepting those strengths and weaknesses you have and might not have. By carefully appraising yourself, you will then be better able to chart out your career path and to know exactly what steps to take to achieve those goals.
Speaking to a mentor
Most companies these days have some sort of a mentor-ship programme where young employees are paired with senior leadership personnel of the organisation. The objective of the mentor-ship programme is to have a more experience and matured person guide and coach young employees, especially those who have just entered the workforce. It is best to consult more experienced employees to seek their guidance and to leverage on the experience they have garnered. Run your career path chart through with them and seek their input. You will be surprised that they might offer you better avenues for you to advance further in your career.
Setting short term and long term goals
In any part of planning, timing is important. Nothing must be left with an open-ended time frame. There must be a start time and an end time to it. Therefore, in your career path chart, it is best to think of two sets of goals – short term and long term. Short term goals are milestones you want to achieve within the next 12 months whereas long term goals are targets set for beyond 12 months up to five years. For example, within the next 12 months, you might want to achieve milestones such as mastering a certain skill set, complete a certain number of training courses or completing an important project. Long term goals on the other hand require a longer time frame to achieve such as getting a promotion, completing a postgraduate course or getting professionally certified.
Revisiting and re-calibrating goals periodically
The last but most important thing you need to do when charting your career path is to revisit and to recalibrate your goals periodically. The reason why this is important is that over time, some goals would be less relevant than others as you find new ideas to propel your career. In addition, over time, certain milestones are no longer relevant in the industry you are in or you might simply be looking at changing industries. Therefore, taking into consideration the current situation you are in, the unexpected opportunities that might arise and also unexpected turns you are forced to take, you will need to set new goals and tweak older goals on a periodic basis.