How Can I Plan Out My Career Path?

If you like to follow a plan and want to map out your career then we've a few suggestions to help you with this.

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Career progression is important. And having a plan to help you with your career progression is just as important. Even though 99% of the time your career won't take the same path as your plans, having the plan can help you to focus on whats important and act as a fantastic guide for how you spend your working days. But where to begin? Well, we are firm believers in working towards your goals and turning dreams into a reality. So, the best place to begin is with your dreams, goals and ambitions. Both of the following questions and our career mapping assumes you know what you want to do with your career. But don't worry, we know how many of you won't have figured out this part yet. If that's you, then click here for our helpful guide on figuring out which careers to pursue.

1. The First Questions
The first question you must ask yourself is "Where do I see myself in 20 or 30 years time?" and then second question is "What do I want to have acheived by the time I retire?" - write the answers down on a piece of paper.

2. Working Backwards From Your End Goals
Now that you've written down your end goals, it's time to figure out how to achieve them. Break this down and work in three or five year periods of time. Look at those in a similar position to your end goal and do some research into the paths they took to get to their positions. At this stage, it's important to explore a variety of different individuals. Remember, there is no one single path to your goal and copying another individual is unlikely to lead to the same successes and end points. However, learning about a number of professionals who achieved the goals that you are looking to also achieve can give you inspiration, ideas and a sense of targets. Look at things like the number of companies they worked for, the positions they worked in, the responsibilities they took on, the countries they worked in, the sizes of the companies they worked for (both when they started and when they left them) and look at the education they undertook. Are there common patterns and themes between the professionals you are looking at? If so, this is a great indication that you might want to look at doing something similar. Did they all have a particular degree? Did they all work in a certain country or for a certain company? If so, you will want to explore a way in which you can do the same thing. If there are certain limitations at this stage - don't panic! The world is changing and there are lots of things you can be creative with and do differently to still reach your goals (thinking outside the box is a big plus point for employers).

3. Make A Plan
Once you've done your research, break up the time between tomorrow and your retirement year into three or five year blocks. Write down the ideal job roles you would like to have at the end of each three or five year period, the companies you would like to work for in each of them (or even the companies you would like to set up yourself) and the responsibilities you would like at each point. Important Tip: Be realistic at this point! There's no point in being unrealistically ambitious here. If you think you can achieve it, write it down.

4. Ask Your Friends, Family & Colleagues For Feedback (Optional)
You've now got a plan - fantastic! Now it's time to ask a few friends, family members or colleagues for their honest thoughts and opinions on it. The best people to ask are those in the same industries that you would like to work in and those with experience (the wiser the better). Don't be disheartened if not everyone agrees with your plan but listen to them and take what they say onboard. You might be surprised with some really insightful feedback that can help you go further! This part is optional though. A career path can be very personal, so if you would rather not share it, there's no need to. It can be helpful though.

5. Action It - Just Go For It
That's it, now you've got your plan, make sure you try and follow through with it. Find the jobs, courses and education you need to, to get to where you want to be. As we've said, it's unlikely that your plan will, step-by-step become a reality, and there are likely to be unexpected twists and turns (some of which may work in your favour, and others that won't). But keep focused and as things change, update your plan on a bi-yearly basis. Now, go chase your dreams!
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