A Career Roadmap covers a broad range of relevant professional development activities, which are required for a particular job role. The Career Roadmap provides a suggested sequence of training events identified to help you perform your current job function or new job role. The Roadmap provides a way for you to determine which skills need to be mastered to improve job performance or simply get prepared.
Each Roadmap is unique, based on your experience to date, and by what is needed to fulfill the minimum requirements of your specific job role. Not all professionals have the right experience to transition to a new job, receive a promotion, or change industries. This is why a thorough Roadmap is based on the level of proficiency established for the job role and the outcome of the competencies assessment.
A Career Roadmap is used to:
- Provide an analysis-based list of job-relevant training, based on your needs.
- Augment your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
- Organize information into a visual representation that presents a timeline of instruction by development area.
The Roadmap is not meant to be a static document. It is a dynamic tool that should continue to evolve to include additional strategies, professional development courses, and experiences. Like learning, the development of the Roadmap is a journey that continues. You will also need to assess whether you still want to remain on the chosen path as you learn more about it.
Implementation of the Roadmap is usually the most difficult step in the process. For each activity on the Roadmap, you need to determine the best development techniques and methods to achieve the desired learning. What works for one learning activity might not work for another activity. For example, signing up for a formal class on “Presentation Skills” might be the right choice for one learning need, but might not work for “Competitive Analysis.” A better strategy to acquire skills in doing competitive analysis might be to job shadow someone or to take on a few volunteer projects with the guidance of a mentor.
In a world where people want instant gratification, many people abandon the career transition process because they believe it is too much effort or that they will not have a positive result. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day requirements of life, put our feelings aside, and shelve reinvention for another day.
Through this process, you may feel a bit of career stagnation: a situation where anxiety rises to the surface and ignites our need for an immediate job change. This feeling sparks a chain of events that usually leads to unhappiness. We give up on our dreams. We update our resume, send it to a few friends and employers, interview for a job, and negotiate a win. After a few months on the job, we ask ourselves, “What have I done, again?” We took another job in which we are not interested. We end up staying in the job (again) because we fear that short tenure will impact our next job. The cycle never ends. It repeats itself over and over until we are at our wits’ end. Over time, your feelings will emerge stronger than before, and they may push you to take drastic measures to protect your sanity. It is not advisable to simply wake up one morning and quit your job. To end the cycle, you must recognize your patterns, break those patterns, and put some thought into your future career path. If you do not, you may end up with a lifetime of misery.
Start by making a choice to reinvent yourself now. Do not brush off this communication and say, “This stuff doesn’t work.” It takes relatively little effort to facilitate thinking about your career roadmap. The first step toward becoming career resilient is to take stock of your career decisions and risks to date. This is not about the types of decisions that involve signing up for a communications course or changing jobs for more money. It is about the peak experiences that help you to reinvent yourself. It includes invested time or money to make consistent or drastic improvements in your career. Some examples include a CIO retraining to become a public speaker, an engineer learning how to become a marketer, or a nurse doing part-time work to become a full-time forensic investigator.
In general, however, most Roadmaps follow a format similar to that summarized below. The kinds of information that might be included in each section of an annual Roadmap are discussed in more detail in the following sections. A sample Career Roadmap for the sales engineer planning to become a marketing manager is provided on the next page. It outlines the fundamental, intermediate, and advanced skills that our sample client needs to develop in the areas of marketing, interpersonal skills, and management skills. These areas reflect the core areas of development determined in the competency section. Within each major category, there exists a list of topics required, and eventually mastered, to be successful as a marketing manager. The Roadmap includes a timeline for illustration purposes. This example uses a five-year time horizon, but every schedule is unique. You may need to create a timeline based on weeks, months, quarters, or years, depending on the job role you seek, the number of professional development activities needed, the development technique, and your sense of urgency.