Keeping Your Career on Track–The Easy Way

Keeping Your Career on Track–The Easy Way (Part 1)

Feeling good about how your career path is progressing? If so, then right on! Keep up the good work. But if you’re feeling like you’ve strayed from the path a bit, that’s ok! It’s actually really easy to get caught up in what I would call the daily operations routine, immersed in the small picture of day-to-day life. But when that happens, it can pull us away from accomplishing our career goals. There’s no time like the present to step back and look at the big picture for the sake of some strategic career planning.

First step

Where do you want to be in your career? Are you dreaming of becoming a digital marketing manager, a senior accountant, or an HR administrator? As you can imagine, they all have drastically different paths. At the big-picture level, try simply to get an idea of where you want to be. And it’s totally ok for that goal to fluctuate over time as you grow. We’re not looking to etch anything in stone right now; we just need a starting point.

Second step

Once you have that goal in mind, let’s take a look at your current situation to see how well it aligns you with your career path.

1. What type of company are you working in?
2. Is your company in the industry that you want?
3. What types of opportunities do they have that could help you on your path?
4. And if they have positions that are conducive to your path, how likely is it that you could get one of those jobs? For example, if there is no turnover in those roles, it may be difficult to find your way in.
5. Or maybe your company simply doesn’t have opportunities. What do you do then?

For this week, we’re focused on the scenario where you have options with your current company. In the next installment, we’ll look at other scenarios, so check back soon to get the full scoop!

What’s next?

It’s time to have an open conversation with your supervisor/manager, if you haven’t done so already. This is where you set the scene with a mentor who will help with your career path. When your manager has the big picture of where you hope to go, he or she can start setting the stage for you and guide you all the way to the top.

During this talk, ask about the steps and what the progression looks like. Take notes. Set up an actual game plan so you know what to do on a daily basis to keep the process going. They give you the tools, but you’re ultimately the one who’s responsible for actually making it happen. So moving forward, you’ll want to have regular meetings to check in and make sure everything is on track. This way, you’re maintaining the big-picture focus while also ensuring that daily, weekly, and monthly steps are happening.

And along the way, you’ll receive coaching and all the help you need to keep honing skills that will make you marketable for the next position within your path. This process of reflection and mentorship are things you’ll do all the way up the ladder. And someday, you may have the chance to pay it forward by coaching a junior employee with similar aspirations!

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist