Achieving some goals takes more than determination and a few right steps. A solid plan in advance can lay out your necessary milestones, while giving you a clear path to follow.
Career roadmaps are a common practice, used by individuals and whole businesses. They help professionals advance their skills and achievements, whether as freelancers or employees.
Follow the tips below to create the most efficient plan for your career goals. You will need to do some research and keep updating the roadmap as you progress, but the outcome is worth the effort.
What Is a Career Roadmap, and Why Make One?
A career roadmap is a visual representation of the steps you need to take to reach a professional goal, such as a high-ranking position in an organization or just a better job title. Basically, you put down your starting point and what you want to achieve. Then, you plan out how to get from A to B. You can do this alone or get help from your employer.
In fact, opportunities for advancement in the workplace are growing in demand. Statistics on SurveyMonkey show that 37 percent of employees want more options on offer. However, 86 percent found they had plenty of control over their tasks, methods, and timing.
So, the freedom to act on your roadmap is already there. All that remains is for the professional landscape to introduce more ways to advance your career.
And a roadmap is a perfect excuse to explore your options and put the best milestones in order. Additionally, it gives you a clear and practical vision of your future, showing you that it’s entirely possible to reach. Stick to the plan and use different methods to stop forgetting things at work. Day by day, step by step, your dream can become a reality.
How to Make a Career Roadmap
Start with a simple layout and branch out as necessary. Keep your timeline and other everyday responsibilities in mind as you put your career roadmap together.
1. Define Your Starting Point
Your current position in an organization can serve as your map’s beginning. If you’re applying for a new job, that can also be your starting point. It depends on what your goal is. Do you want a promotion? Or are you a freelancer wanting to upgrade your skillset and marketability?
Whether you’re balancing a full-time job and a side hustle or focusing on a single career path, decide what your roadmap’s point A is.
2. Define Your Career Goal and Its Requirements
Once you know where you’re coming from, set your end goal. It could be something already within your capabilities or a position you’ll need to strive for. Either way, make sure your target is realistic and based on good research.
If you work in fashion, for example, and dream of being an astronaut, your chances of success aren’t very high. But you could aim for a position as a spacesuit designer—still a challenge, but likelier to pan out with excellent planning and dedication.
So, while setting your career roadmap’s goal, look into its requirements, too. Establish if it’s a good direction for you and prepare to lay out how you’ll get there.
3. Add Steps to Connect Your Roadmap’s Beginning and End
You have a starting point and a goal. Now, you need to set your steppingstones. Start with major targets you’ll need to reach, like qualifications, work experience, and where you’d get these. Will you need to relocate? How much will this professional journey cost?
At the same time, work out how long each step will take and where it fits on your timeline. The more precise you can make it, the less you’ll need to adjust your journey later. That’s why research and realistic expectations are important.
Between your key milestones, add smaller steps to guide you from one target to the next. These could include practicing a particular skill, joining a social group to make connections, or getting tools for different tasks.
Exploring expense tracking apps for Android can be as helpful as finding which colleges offer the degrees you need. Spend time on such matters, and your career roadmap will become richer in detail and potential.
4. Make Your Career Roadmap Engaging and Easy to Access
Filling your map with practical information and goals ensures that you have a sensible and exciting journey to look forward to. Something else that can help you visualize your future and enjoy the planning process is giving your roadmap character.
For example, you could color code it and spread it out, so you can add helpful notes or checklists under different milestones. On a digital career roadmap, attach files and add hyperlinks to important web pages.
If your employer or someone else is helping you, give them access to the document, so they can offer their input. Creating your own career roadmap doesn’t mean doing it alone.
Additionally, try to make it as easy as possible to interact with your map at any time. Here, digital files have the advantage as you can carry them on your phone or upload them to the cloud, so you can open them from any device.
5. Keep Your Career Roadmap Up to Date
Another tip to making an effective career roadmap is to never stop managing it. Tick those checklists as you go. Update that information. Recalculate your budgets and schedule.
You get to appreciate your progress so far, assess the rest of your journey, and deal with any surprises or even mistakes you made.
Templates for Career Roadmaps
It’s not just other people you can entrust your roadmap to. Software and websites can help as well with advice, tools, and templates. Here are some of the best options.
1. Google Docs
You can create your own career roadmap with help from the best Google Docs add-ons for creating diagrams. Otherwise, you can simply use the platform’s default Drawing tools, available in the Insert tab. It lets you create a new design or upload one from Google Drive.
2. Microsoft Office
The same strategy works on Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. They all have plenty of tools to draw your map from scratch, but you can try out their templates, too.
You’ll find different kinds of roadmaps, planners, and timelines that you can tweak to your liking. If your app lacks good options, explore Microsoft’s templates library for more.
When it comes to software for making roadmaps and timelines, Preceden is one of the most reliable. Every feature is there to visualize and perfect your career plan.
From a blank slate to elaborate templates, from editing to sharing tools, rest assured you have everything you need, especially if you decide to upgrade from a free account.
5. Office Timeline
Here’s one more app you should know about that can help you plan your career. Keep in mind that Office Timeline is only compatible with PowerPoint, but you can import data from Excel, Project, and Smartsheet.
You can either use Office Timeline’s online service or download the PowerPoint add-on. Whatever you choose, you’ll have impressive tools and templates at your fingertips.
Download: Office Timeline
If you just want premade roadmaps you can download to different platforms, Template is your best bet. It offers a nice range of simple and more complex designs. Whether you’re getting organized for personal or business reasons, simply download and edit your favorite template.
Another website offering career roadmap templates is SlideUpLift. They’re mainly for PowerPoint and Google Slides, so if you use either of these apps, check this extensive online library before any other.
An extra interesting feature is that you can order custom slides. Give a detailed description of what you want, and what SlideUpLift delivers.
Follow Your Career Roadmap in Small Productive Chunks
Making a career roadmap, whether alone or with help, takes a lot of thought, research, and smart tools. Do it right, however, and your end goal won’t be so daunting to reach. It can even be fun.
Aside from using the tips above, make sure you take your journey one day, a week, and a month at a time. Keep completing smaller steps and building your skills and confidence. Your dream job will arrive in time.