Attain your dream job with a solid career path plan
4 MIN. READ
Adults constantly ask children, even those of college age, what they want to be when they grow up. Perhaps these adults are really asking themselves what they want to be when they grow up.
According to a 2018 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Report[i], the median U.S. worker stays at a job for approximately four years. This figure rises to a little more than 10 years among older workers (ages 55-64), and drops to 2.8 years among younger workers (ages 25-34).
Are you ready for a career change?
If you dread going to work each morning, you might be ready for a career change[ii]. Considering the fact that you spend most of your waking hours at work or thinking about work. Wouldn't you rather be doing and thinking about something pleasurable?
For some people, a complete shift isn't feasible. If you have a family or are tied to a certain location, changing your career from being a CPA to a merchant marine probably is not realistic. However, you could find a job in the accounting department of a maritime industry or one that relies heavily on overseas shipping.
Planning for a career change
Start your new career path with an honest self-assessment of where you are and where you would like to be[iii]. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). A SWOT analysis helps you to gain a greater understanding of yourself and whatever road blocks might hinder your successful transformation, such as any skills, experience or educational gaps.
You may want to retain the services of a career counselor to help you with this assessment. The counselor can also administer a personality assessment, such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator[iv] to see what careers would best suit your personality.
Formulate a formal career path plan and document it in writing. This step serves two purposes. First, it solidifies your goal. Second, it serves as your road map to guide you towards that goal.
Creating your career change
You can begin your journey by taking several steps at once. If you require additional professional development, check with your company's HR department to see if your employer provides any of the necessary courses or assists with tuition for outside courses.
Regardless of whether or not you can enroll in professional development immediately, learn something new every day[v]. Once you are in the mindset of constant learning, read and write regularly.
The number one soft skill required for leadership is communication. Don't limit yourself only to subject matter directly related to your goal job. Broaden your horizons so that you're prepared to take the leap to the next stepping stone on your career path.
While you are closing any training gaps, examine your company's organizational chart to determine whether or not your dream job lies within your current company. Talk to coworkers currently in the role you plan to attain. They may have some advice on items to add to your current plan.
Depending on your relationship with your supervisor, he or she may be able to provide additional guidance, such as informing you of lateral moves or promotions to help you gain more experience.
Research other organizations to identify positions that will provide an organizational path forward towards your goal career. Depending on how far you have traveled down your path, you may be ready to make the leap into your new job.
Executing your career change
Use your career path when working with your own company's HR department or outside recruiters so that they can share your vision for your future and help you achieve your goals.
Enlist the help of a friend, mentor or career consultant to keep you moving forward on your new career path. Remember that your plan is a living document. Update it regularly as you acquire new skills, knowledge and abilities.
You may even find that you want to completely revise your career plan as you gain exposure to new positions. After all, as a life-long learner, you may want to reach even higher than you initially thought possible.