Mapping Out Your Plan of Attack

Jun 30, 2011 | Career Development, Professional Portfolio

Part 3 in a 3-part “Career Reset” series including tips and strategies that will help you proactively engage in planning your career to take you exactly where you want to go. If you missed parts 1 and 2, click here to read more.

You’ve taken a look at where your career is now. You put some thought into your mission and where you truly want your career path to take you. Now it’s time to map out the HOW of making that happen. What’s your plan of attack?

When you put some thought and energy into mapping out your plan, it becomes the true roadmap for your success. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about the HOW of your strategic career plan and what you need to do to get where you want to be:

  • Does it involve attaining professional certifications, additional schooling or specific training classes? If so, what? Where can you get it?
  • Should you engage with a mentor or career coach?
  • Is your career development toolbox ready? E.g. updated resume, professional portfolio, personalized business cards, profile created/updated.
  • Is there a professional association you should consider joining to support your path? E.g. IAAP, SHRM, ASTD, NSA, NALA
  • How can you network with others online and in person?
  • What should you be reading? Listening to? Watching?

Turn this activity into a brainstorming session on a white board or a piece of large poster paper so you have room to scribble and draw and connect things together as you think through it. But put it in writing! Get it out of your head so you can see it and create a true plan of attack.

For example, let’s say you’re at a job you enjoy, but you want to pursue a promotion or another position supporting higher level executives. The list of things that you may need to pursue to attain that promotion or new position may include:

  • Attaining the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and/or Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) Certifications
  • Taking some classes at the local community college on improving communication skills, project management, developing leadership skills, business writing, and Office 2010 programs
  • Attending a conference tailored specifically to administrative professionals
  • Updating your resume with personal branding statements, current and previous accomplishments, etc.
  • Updating your professional portfolio with work samples
  • Getting your profile completed
  • Joining the IAAP and SHRM groups on LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Reading ALL of Joan Burge’s books for administrative professionals

Now that you have all of the big components identified, now you have to turn these into SMART goals by making them Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time specific.  Keep in mind, this list of things you need to do may not be accomplished in a single year.  Think long term.  You’re mapping out a career plan.  Think 2-3 years – 5 years – 10 years.  And KNOW that things are going to change along the way as new experiences, new information, and new insights come to you.  Then you tweak, adjust, and/or redirect as needed.  But at least you still have a roadmap guiding those decisions instead of wandering aimlessly and wondering why you aren’t accomplishing anything meaningful.

So here’s one way you may map out your plan of attack on attaining the CPS certification:

Here’s another example:

Note: You can download my free template here to help you get your own plan started just like this one.

You may decide that you’ll pursue the CPS and CAP certifications this year, and then pursue the additional classes or training programs next year. In the mean time, you’ll squeeze in as many books on your reading list as you can and continue searching for free training via social media and keep educating yourself in the areas where you need additional knowledge. This doesn’t have to be complicated at all. But you do need to know HOW you plan to get there. Hoping that promotion or new job opportunity will magically appear if you wish for it long enough isn’t a plan for success; creating your very own customized strategic administrative career plan is.

Some may choose to work these goals and career aspirations into their annual performance plan where they work. Others may choose to keep it personal and work at it on their own. It doesn’t matter how you do it. But keep in mind that your career is YOUR responsibility, not your employer’s. So whether or not you have corporate support doesn’t matter. You may need to be more creative in how you map out your goals for accomplishing your plans, but YOU CAN do it! (If you want to be proactive in securing your employer’s support, though, click here for more information you may find helpful.)

A strategic career plan helps you reconnect with why you chose the administrative profession in the first place. Successful, career-minded administrative professionals do not depend upon chance. They choose to plan. They choose to grow. They choose to succeed. Take charge of your career by creating your very own personalized strategic administrative career plan today!

I have one final homework assignment for you:

  • Begin thinking about and writing down the answers to the questions in the “How will you get there?” section (pgs 9-10 in the free report).
  • Create your customized plan of attack. Download my free template here to get you started.
  • Begin pursuing a career fully aligned with your personal mission and filled with purpose, fulfillment, and success.

Click here to read part 1:

Click here to read part 2:

© 2011 Julie Perrine International, LLC


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 request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at

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