How to Plan Out Your Career Path

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A career path provides the necessary direction to achieve success. When I’m traveling somewhere new, I search for directions on my phone. There are several different paths I could take, but my goal is to find the most effective.

Similar to traveling, there are several different paths we can take to achieve our goals throughout our careers. Creating a map – or a plan – is critical to ensuring that we actually reach our destination.

But how do you go about doing this?

1. Self-Reflection is Valuable.

One of the most important ways to achieve success is to determine our goals. To effectively determine our goals, we need to evaluate our selves.

What are your best skills? What do you want to achieve? What processes do you think will make you happy?

It is important to be critical during this process, and to involve someone you trust to give you an honest assessment.

2. Research.

Research is helpful in several different ways. Our goals have to constantly evolve as the world around us changes so that we stay ahead of trends.

In 2006, the real estate market was booming, and real estate could be a lucrative career. In 2009 – that was not necessarily the case. It is necessary to constantly self-reflect in the context of a changing environment.

Research is also helpful to determine what steps are actually necessary to achieve our goals. For example, if you are considering pursuing a MBA, it is important to talk to professionals who have MBAs, and also those who don’t, in order to compare their experiences

3. Be SMART.

Make goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. Establishing both long and short term SMART goals helps us stay on the necessary path.

The value of these goals is that they are objective and allow you to measure the results. Another benefit is that SMART goals help people stay focused and hopefully motivated.

4. Continue Professional Development.

Dedicate at least sixty minutes per week to professional development. This time could include networking, studying the market, or conducting other career related research.

Meeting other professionals is also helpful in acquiring new business, and even job prospects. Executives need to stay ahead of trends by increasing their own education.

5. Seek Advice from Trusted Advisors.

Finally, seek advice during each step of the process. Look to trusted advisors to help determine your goals, and necessary steps to achieve those goals. Consult with an attorney to review all legal documents such as an employment agreement, or if you decide to start your own company, the documents necessary to launch your business.