If you’ve followed me for long, you probably already know how crucial it is to have a strategic administrative career plan. It details where you are, where you want to go, and outlines the steps you need to take to get there. It’s a combination of your personal mission, vision, and goals that will guide your professional growth and development.
But having a career plan is not enough. If you don’t implement it then it’s just a document taking up space on your hard drive. Here’s how to put your career plan to work for you.
Keep It Visible
One of the most important things you can do to consistently make progress on your goals and objectives is to keep them visible. There are plenty of creative ways you can do this:
- Post them on a bulletin board.
- Create a visual to use as the background on your PC, laptop, smart phone and tablet.
- Post them around your home and/or office so you see them throughout the day.
I want you to post your target goal somewhere you will see it and read it every single day. Or, if you prefer, post the next 2-3 steps you need to take – whatever is more motivating for you.
Keep Them Accessible
You can also add the Microsoft Office suite of apps (Word, Excel, and OneNote, in particular) or the Google Suite apps to your smart phone and tablet, so your career plan files are easily accessible no matter where you are.
I also encourage you to store your crucial career files somewhere besides your work computer or network drives. You don’t want to chance IT wiping them out for some reason. And if you ever lose your job, the last place you want your only copy to be is on an inaccessible work computer.
Incorporate Them Into Your Daily Task Management System
Next, I encourage you to integrate your career plan tasks into whatever system you use to track your daily work tasks, so you continue to see them and make progress as part of your normal course of work. This is especially important if these goals and objectives tie into what you’ve agreed to in your annual performance review or individual development plan.
Enlist an Accountability Partner
You may be disciplined enough to keep yourself on track, or you may need a mentor, accountability partner, or career coach to make it happen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this!
Over the course of my career, I’ve come to realize that I’m more likely to stay on track when I have to report to someone than if I’m only accountable to myself. It annoys the daylights out of me, but it’s my reality. So, I engage with a business coach and an accountability partner on a monthly basis to make sure I stay on track.
If you don’t already have a mentor or accountability partner, find one. Ask someone you know, like, and trust if they would be willing to help you stay on track with your goals and objectives. Then figure out a way to connect at least monthly.
The career planning templates on our site have a place to track each time you check in with your accountability partner.
Prepare for Annual Reviews
With your career plan mapped out, you can now use it to help you prepare for your annual performance review. If you make a habit of documenting your accomplishments, it’s a great starting point for identifying your contributions in the past year.
The self-assessment process, and the critical success factors exercises, in this 5-Day Challenge can help you identify the skills, training, and resources you may need in the year ahead so you can objectively present them at review time. And when you need to tie your goals and objectives into your company’s, your plan gives you a starting point for having a productive conversation with your manager about where you want to go and how you can work together to get there.
Prepare for Job Searches
If you find yourself in the situation where you need or want to look for a new job, your career plan can help you hone your search parameters. It also allows you to be specific when talking with recruiters about what you want and where you’re hoping to go. Instead of taking the first thing that opens up, you can be more selective because you know what you’re looking for. And if you do a SWOT analysis for each position you apply for, you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on careful and thoughtful analysis.
Career Planning is Ongoing
It’s important to note that career planning is not a one-time thing. Evaluating where you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there is an annual process at the very least.
Things may change over time. The economic environment, your life situation, and trends in the marketplace can all impact where you thought you were headed, so it’s important to remain flexible. What you thought might work for achieving your ultimate goal last year may not work now. So you have to continually review, evaluate, and update your career plan.
When I left the corporate world as an executive assistant and launched my business as a virtual assistant, I had no intention of doing what I’m doing today. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. But as I interacted with my clients over the years, I realized that I enjoyed training assistants as much as I enjoyed being one. So I began adjusting my career plan to include launching All Things Admin. And my evolution continues even today.
Yours will too! As long as you continue to work your plan, it will have a career-advancing impact on your life for years to come.
© 2021 Julie Perrine International, LLC
HOW TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE
Want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or website? You can — just as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.