Setting Up Your Career Path
Career Pathways is an international workforce development program used primarily in the United States to assist workers transitioning from education to employment. The goal of Career Pathways is to help workers identify a lifelong career path that they will enjoy and will be able to succeed at no matter what level they reach in their career. Basically, career pathways are pathways a worker’s career takes in order to reach a more experienced or higher paid position. These programs offer assistance to those in education, starting at the college level and all the way up to individuals who are already employed and looking for more challenging career opportunities.
A career path is something you start in your career. It may be a technical career path, like a mechanic or electrician. It may be an academic career path, such as a nurse or a business management major. It could even be a volunteer career path, such as a childcare provider or an elder care professional. Your career path might simply be a personal vision you have developed along the lines of a job market analysis, or maybe it is something you learned in training.
Once you’ve identified your career path, you need to take some specific steps to prepare for it. At this point you need to consider your skills and what your strengths are. For example, some job seekers focus on their skills such as communication, leadership, technical skills, sales and so forth. Others are more concentrated on their talents, goals and accomplishments in specific human resources professions.
Once you have focused on your personal objectives, you should write out your career goals. There should always be one primary objective for each job position. Your career path goals should include: your progression through the job requirements; what types of tasks you expect to perform each day; your progress in meeting those objectives. For instance, when you are a Certified Nursing Assistant, your objectives may be to obtain certification; to further your knowledge and skills in that field; or to increase your chances of obtaining a management or supervisory position. All these things should be included on your career path management sheet.
After you have written out your career path objectives, the next step is to identify your job descriptions. It is important that you choose your description carefully, since it will determine which jobs you qualify for, and for how long. Some people like to think big-picture, and identify the positions they would like to hold once they reach their career goals. Other people prefer a more practical approach, and choose their job descriptions more linearly. However, if you want to achieve both of these objectives, then you should choose a description that lists the most basic skills required for all positions and departments.
Finally, you should make a list of all the positions or departments you have identified for your career path. Be as specific as possible. For instance, if you have chosen to work in a hospital setting, then list all the job titles required: administrative assistant, anesthesiologist assistant, receptionist, nurse, physician assistant, surgeon, radiology technician, x-ray technician, pharmacy manager, or any other number of primary and secondary duties. When you have listed your intended positions, write down the end goal you have in mind for reaching them: salary, advancement, certification. If you are not sure what your end goal is, write down “expects.”
You have now accomplished step three – now it is time to work your plan. This is where the most important piece of the career path planning puzzle comes into play: You need to work through all of the possibilities for each position or department until you have achieved your desired set of goals. This means listing all of the steps you have taken (step one) and writing down all of the options you have for each goal. The best way to accomplish this is to list your career paths on a piece of paper, prioritize them based on the criteria listed in step two above, and cross-check your plans with your current objectives.
Once you have prioritized your positions, consider which of your career path goals will help you achieve your next goals. If you want to become a doctor, you must work on becoming an obstetrician or on a surgical technologist. If you want to be a pharmaceutical rep, you can put that in first while putting the other skills and certifications in according to your schedule. Once you have listed your plans, write down the next steps for each goal as well. And then take action!