As in life, you need to know where you’ve been in your career before you know where you’re going. In this way, you can chart a five-year plan or road map for career development and where you want to go.
The most effective way to create this plan is to develop what I call an Education, Certification and Experience (ECE) Framework, which ultimately offers that big-picture view.
Follow the example using a spreadsheet with the years in the left column. Moving right from there, you’ll have a column for education, one for any certifications you earn and a third column titled “experience,” to record the milestones you hit. (Think salary increases or title changes.)
After logging your accomplishments to date, add five additional rows for the next five years of progress and leave them blank.
Take a step back. Now that you can see your career in its entirety, what do you see? Where have you succeeded? Where can you grow?
Creating an ECE framework will assist you in visualizing your success. It will guide you in logging, tracking and forecasting your progress through your career development plan, which helps you maintain momentum.
Having a way to visually track your progress will keep you accountable too. If you can see what you’re doing, you can immediately understand what you’re lacking, where the gaps are and what improvements you can make. This framework can also help you realize what you’re doing right and encourage you to maintain good habits.