Do you have a clear career path? One important element to maintain a sense of direction in your career is to create a strategic career plan. However, too many professionals spend time writing down their goals only to put away their plans and forget about their goals. Not having a clear sense of direction can leave you feeling stagnant and unfulfilled. So how can you use your strategic career plan effectively?

We work with mid-career professionals every day and help them to create and implement their strategic career plans because we truly care. We want to provide you with a few tips to help you put what you wrote in your own strategic career plan into action.

Make sure your goals are meaningful and attainable. When thinking about your long and short-term career goals, make sure they are meaningful to you. Life is too short to not truly enjoy your work, so avoid setting goals based on what is expected of you or what you think you should be doing in your career. If your career goals aren’t meaningful, you won’t feel motivated to accomplish them. It’s also important to set attainable goals for yourself. If you feel that your goals are impossible to reach, you won’t feel motivated to work towards them either. Take a look at your strategic career plan and make sure your long-term goals align with your values.

When setting short-term goals, ensure they are reasonable and build on each other. For example, if your long-term goal is to reach a management position, you may set short-term goals for yourself such as volunteering to take the lead on a project this quarter, taking a LinkedIn Learning class on management, or finding a mentor who can help you work on management skills.

Check in with your plan regularly. We recommend that you schedule time to check in with your strategic career plan quarterly. This allows you to review what you have accomplished and plan for the next few months. When you keep your goals fresh in your mind, this helps you be alert to opportunities at your job to build the skills that will help you reach your long-term goals. You can also determine if you need to make adjustments to stay on track with your career plan. Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your current industry? Are there new career paths available to you due to the pandemic? Remember that your strategic career path is a living document, so as your values shift, your career goals can also shift.

Hold yourself accountable. Another way to use your strategic career plan effectively is to set reasonable completion dates for your goals. You can even set up a “strategic career plan” calendar for yourself to help you stay motivated. And remember that you don’t have to do it alone, you can ask a friend or mentor to be an accountability partner. Many professionals have also found it easier to stay accountable when working with a career coach. Find out how we can help you clarify your career path. Schedule a free consult today.