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If you are thinking about mapping out some career goals, one way of getting started is to compose a career statement. Used as a personal motivational tool, career statements help define and clarify your professional future. Spending time writing about where you want your career to take you and how to get there is a fruitful exercise. The result is a road map complete with goals and time-lines that you can follow.
Before beginning to create a career statement, reflect on your values--the personal and ethical rules that you respect. When your values and career plans are in alignment, you can eliminate any potential conflicts. For example, your desire to work with handicapped children in a nonprofit organization may be more important to you than a six-figure job in a technical field. If this is the case, you have identified a career path that supports your value system. Identifying your values helps you prioritize your future goals.
Goals and Objectives
It is helpful when writing a career statement to fast-forward into the future and establish milestones. A five-year goal might mean a promotion to a managerial level within your organization. Possibly leaving your existing employment to open your own business might be another goal set for ten years. Factor in any continuing education goals such as obtaining a master's degree in your chosen field.
Obtaining the level of success we aspire to often requires some risk. Consider the risk factor and your tolerance for risk. Take into account how careful planning and foresight might minimize the risk. Another factor to consider is your lifestyle. Finding work-life balance amidst a rapid rise up the career ladder is not always easy. It is prudent to consider what you enjoy doing with your time when you are not working on your career plans. Balance is important to health and wellness.
Another integral part of a career statement is the action plan. If a supervisory level position is your goal, list the new skills you must acquire to make the leap to management. Enrolling in managerial courses, reading management books and obtaining a mentor may be the steps you need to implement prior to obtaining that goal. In planning your career, identify each step that will take you to the next level. It is a good idea to factor in timing by scheduling the action items.
A career statement is a document that is of benefit to the individual who creates it. There is no concrete formula regarding the length and breadth of your career statement. It can be a concise or as detailed as you desire. Use it for the intended purpose, which is as a motivational tool. Your career statement is also a tracking device and road map. It is a good idea to review it monthly to see if you are on target. There are times when we wish to change direction. If you decided upon a career change or an unexpected opportunity arises, revise your plan. Update it when accomplishments are completed.
Jan Simon is a career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resources. She holds a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. Simon enjoys writing career articles and is a columnist for the CV Weekly. She also publishes a weekly blog called Life on the Sunny Side.