"The point is, in the big picture, no one is going to look after your career for you, but you."
– from Erin Malone on Boxes and Arrows in 2004

Check out our Letters to a Young Artist for more inspiration.

Screen Shot 2013 05 17 at 8.40.40 PM Writing a Plan for Your Future   A Career Path Template (Downloadable)

 

Available for download: The Career Planning Outline

A few more Career Path Hits:

The Career Planning Template:

Your Name

Today’s Date
This is important as you reflect back on this document. This will become a touchstone for your growth and a reminder of who you were as you look back at what was important to you in this point in time.

3–6 Months
Start small.
Think about short-term goals that are easily achieved but will also help move you towards the longer-term goals.
Include some tangible goals (i.e., ship a product that I acted as lead designer for).

6–12 Months
Start thinking bigger here—this is planning for a year out.
What new skills do you want to learn?
What new ideas do you want to share with others?
What changes do you want to make? Put them down here along with the steps needed to take to make them happen.

Beyond 12 Months
Capture specific plans that you know may take more than a year to get to or accomplish. For me, it was to work on my Dr. Leslie book. I discussed the idea with a writing partner 3 years ago, but it is only now coming to fruition with an actual proposal in hand and a potential publisher.
Be realistic but not afraid to reach. Visualize success in areas you may have little control over. Don’t be afraid to write down a desired goal that may be a stretch.

Longer-term Goals
This is the area to think out for the next 3–5 years, including life beyond the company or situation you are currently in. For me, I listed “teaching again” as a goal. This reminds me that I want to do this and I need to make certain decisions and changes in order to make it happen.If I decide at a later time, that I don’t really want to do this, I should remove it off the plan.

Opportunities to Explore at Your Company
List all the training and coaching opportunities relevant and currently available at your company.
Note relationships that need to be cultivated at your company in order to meet success.
Note: This obviously may not apply if you are an independent consultant. Think about other opportunities that might be available through professional associations and networking instead.

Skills to Develop
Project what skills you need to develop to reach the goals you listed in the first part of this exercise.
What other skills do you need, besides the ones you have now, to attain your goal?Since I am a manager and this is the area in which I have been growing, I listed things such as Confidence and Effectiveness—along with ideas on how to master these more intangible skills.Over the last couple of years, I have purposely put myself into situations to gain confidence—especially when giving presentations. Think about starting slow and building on your successes.In addition, I also listed skills of associated/allied roles that I would like to learn in order to make myself a more well-rounded and effective manager in my company.

What I Care About in a Work Environment
This may seem frivolous or not important to the task at hand, but it serves to remind you of the values you need to share with the company you work for. As you grow or the company changes this can help guide you when you need to make a change.

Personal Goals
Don’t forget the personal goals that you need to weave into your life. It never hurts to write these down as a reminder of work/life balance and of the things that are really important to you as a person.

Download: The Career Planning Outline on Slideshare.net

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.mcelhenney John McElhenney

    I need to actually do the process again.

  • http://www.getpaidtodosurveysnow.com/ Get Paid To Do Surveys

    Hey I'v been reading your blog from quite some time now and I just wanted to say keep up the good work.

  • http://www.hobbybreeders.com/Breeders/ Dog Breeders

    Hey this article looks to me quite handy. There are some good ways here for writing a future plan. I really liked the idea. In fact I wanted some more words on the career goal. My question is that, are the career goals and long term goals same?

ZTM0O