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Make a career plan this year if you haven’t already; these 5 steps will help you make an actionable career plan that you can implement and track as well.
You don’t need to wait for a new year to come by to set your goals, but as we progress into 2017, for a lot of people, a new year translates to hope hope that this year is going to be different; that this year they will ‘make it’. This could be chasing the elusive number on a scale, scaling a mountain, being a better parent or dusting off that guitar stashed away somewhere in the dark corner of a closet.
While I haven’t listed out a five-step plan on getting you to strum your favourite number in time for ringing in 2018, I do have one for you as far as your career plan goes!
Far too many women tend to just ‘go with it’ as far as their career goes. Setting a goal will help you build a vision for your career, motivate you and give you something concrete to work towards, that is of your own design and making.
You will need to identify your skills and interests and map the two. Then define where you want to be, a milestone that you want to achieve. If you have defined a long term big milestone as part of your career plan, then break it up into smaller milestones to be achieved in a year or two.
Ask yourself the following:
What’s the gap between where you are today and where you want to be, in terms of skills and experience? It’s worth noting that study after study shows that while men will be promoted on the potential they have shown, women need to prove that they can handle the work that they are taking up before they are awarded the role. A little bit of a chicken and egg situation unfortunately, but being aware of these gender biases will help you circumvent them.
Are you on the right path this far – your current role, organization and environment – are they conducive for where you want to be? Is your manager an ally or a barrier? Your manager will pay a key role in whether you will be able to achieve the growth you are looking for, so you will need to pay special attention to your equation with him/her.
What are your personal barriers – self limiting beliefs, bandwidth to take on more?
What’s your ‘brand’ – the image you have built? Will your brand help you get to where you want to be? What have you portrayed yourself as an expert in?
If there aren’t any fundamental gaps (e.g the organization or manager) then the next step would be to communicate what you want to achieve with your manager.
Align with them on the feasibility of what you want to achieve.
Be prepared with a list of asks – what you need from him/her for you to achieve this – e.g, work on a specific project to gain a skill that you need.
Ask your manager to define a set of KPIs that you need to achieve in order for you to achieve your goal.
The first three steps revolved around you and your world; however, the fact is that you can’t work in a silo. Do the networking you need to do, be aware of what’s going on with the organization’s direction, strategic interests, profits etc.
It’s time to do the hard work.
Break your goal into weekly actionable steps.
Work on all the gaps you have defined.
Work on what you have agreed with your manager
Check-in with your manager regularly – this will keep you accountable, and remind your manager of your goal.
When the time is right, march up to your manager and ask and negotiate to see your goal to fruition!
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Top image via Pixabay
First published here
Vaijayanthi Bhat is the founder of a Gender Diversity and Womens leadership consultancy called BreadCrumbsCo (
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