Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series on career mapping, a system of evaluating your strengths, weaknesses and desires as you seek a new career. This installment examines the process of career mapping and what it can do for you. Make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 3, also.
Finding and keeping a job has changed from the days of our parents and grandparents. No longer can you count on staying at one company for 20-plus years and retiring. In today’s business world, workers from almost every field often hop from one workplace to another in search of a better life and moving up in your career.
Before moving to your next job or starting your first one, consider evaluating your goals, your reasons for change, your skills and experience and other factors that make you who you are. In doing so, you will be creating a powerful career map.
In the book “Career Mapping,” authors Ginny Clarke and Echo Garrett share some valuable information on preparing for a career change before the applying and interviewing process. The book serves as a guide to preparing yourself for a job search or career change in various ways. For example, it is recommended that you target the industry, function and role you want, while also trying to understand your “personal geography” or your environment, likes and dislikes and things that determine who you are. This process can help you establish the foundation for your preparation for job searching.
The authors also approach issues such as overcoming fears and doubts about your skills, learning what drives you, assessing your true competency and more to help you really dig in and understand what is it you really want to do with your career and is that choice the right one.
Perhaps the best thing about the book and accompanying website is the career map itself, which you can download. This wonderful tool allows you chart a great deal of factors in not only your job search, but really the direction and path of your career. It helps you take a step back and evaluate your map for the better job and life you have always wanted.
In other words, it helps you to ask yourself the really tough questions about your personality, skills, wants and needs. The book and career map guide really help you take a critical look at who you are, what you want, where you want to go and how you can get there.
For example, are you really qualified for that job you want? Are you ready to supplement those skills with education? Do you really want to work for that company? Do you have some gaps in your experience? Who do you network with in the industry or company you want to get to? Do you have mentors and/or advisors who can help you? What experts do you know in the industry you want to go into?
One message that is great takeaway from career mapping is education. Whether it’s formal or just sitting down with experts in the field you want to get into, all learning in vital. However, getting a degree is crucial to allowing you to begin the process of mapping a career. It is the basis you will need to truly move into the career–not job– you want to be happy.