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Whether you are unemployed or have an unfulfilling job, you probably suffer from an ailment that plagues many people: career disorientation. You are not where you want to be professionally. Somewhere along the road to professional happiness you veered off course and lost your way. If you are driving and become lost, a map is a handy tool to help get back on course. A career map is just as useful in curing career disorientation.

    To create a career map, you must be able to take a step back and examine your position. More often than not, you may need to take many steps before the big picture becomes visible. The whole purpose of a career map is to create a path to your end goal. Being able to envision the entire path is crucial.
    Planning should not be a stationary act. A vital part of effective career mapping is gathering information. After all, you cannot fully prepare for a journey unless you have a detailed understanding of the places you want to go.

There are numerous methods to obtain all the information necessary for creating a sound career map. Some of the most popular choices include:

  • Reading trade magazines and professional industry analysis.
  • Interviewing industry experts.
  • Finding a mentor that is already successful in the job you hope aspire to be in one day.
    As you examine your path to success, you must determine how to get yourself on that path. This means you need to be in contact with the companies and/or industries you see in your future. As you already know, landing the job you want is not an easy task. That is why marketing is an essential part of career mapping.

Above all else, a self-marketing strategy for career mapping should address these three issues:

  • Market Identification: Just like a business must decide on the customers to whom it will sell its product, you must decide on the companies and industries to which you will sell yourself. Be specific, having only a general idea will leave you unfocused. Make a list of specifics so you can properly allocate your time and effort.
  • Strength/Weakness Identification: When a business sells its product, it does not just to tell you the product’s name. Advertisements emphasize the advantages of a product. You need emphasize your strengths and downplay your weaknesses as you market yourself. Have your closest friends and colleagues help you compile a list of your positive and negative characteristics.
  • Mission Statement: It may seem trivial to actual develop a mission statement for yourself, but they perform a very valuable function. Creating a mission statement requires you to concisely explain your goals. In doing this, you remove frivolous details and better focus yourself.
    Often times, as a person develops their career map he or she realizes that they are far off course. This perfectly normal, but it also means that getting on the right road will require a change of direction.

Planning before you act allows you to make focused moves. Once you’ve plotted your course, you must act without hesitation. Don’t forget to check your career map regularly to ensure you have not veered off course. Make forecasts and continue to plan. When the job market is rough; the people that do well are those that have a strong idea of where they are trying to go. Remember, driving is a lot easier when you keep your eyes on the road. Happy planning!

Source: Nathan Newberger www.worktree.com