Plotting Your Way to Success Through Career Trajectory Planning

6 min read
professional looking forward to a great career ahead

Every professional wants to become successful in their chosen career field. However, some fail to do so because they miss crucial elements that one needs in order to thrive. Are you looking for tips to improve your career trajectory? We’ve listed practical you can heed to plot your career map successfully. Read this blog to know more.

What is a Career Trajectory?

Each career has a unique path known as a career trajectory. This refers to the journey your career takes as you move through different roles, companies, and stages of your professional life. When mapped, it may appear as a line sloping upward, downward, or lateral.

The graph of the trajectory depends on your desire to progress in your career. There are many metrics one can use to plot their career trajectory such as salary, achievements, promotions and number of companies. Different industries call for different metrics.

Different Types of Career Trajectories

There are two types of career trajectories. Let’s discuss them in brief:

1. Vertical

Vertical path is the more traditional career path for most employees. This form of trajectory reflects upward growth in one’s career, which involves promotion with higher pay and new titles within the company. A vertical trajectory may seem the ideal career trajectory, but this track is not always attainable in every career or stage of professional growth.

2. Horizontal

A career path going up the ladder is not for everyone. An employee may stay in a position for a long period of time. This would indicate a horizontal line across your graph. Horizontal career trajectory, however, does not always represent a stagnant career. Staying in a specific role for a long period can allow you to acquire new skills. On the other hand, you may also account for horizontal lines for when you decide to switch careers or roles. At this point, you may devote a significant time to pursue education or work experience.

concept of deciding on a career trajectory
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Why is Having a Career Trajectory Plan Important?

Career planning provides clarity on the direction and resources required to fulfill your goals. It is essential to plan your career to keep you focused, motivated, and fulfilled. Here are the reasons you should develop a career trajectory plan.

1. You understand your current position.

Career planning involves self-exploration and assessment. Having a clear trajectory allows you to understand if your current role is the right fit for you. It will help you bridge the gap between where you are in your career and where you want to be.

2. It helps align career goals and objectives.

A successful career considerably depends on deliberate goals. Through these goals, you can evaluate career options, choose the job you love, and help you create a long-term career development plan. By creating a career trajectory plan, you can determine actionable steps to help you achieve those goals.

3. It provide you with the opportunity to explore career options.

Having a career trajectory plan allows you to take ownership of your career. Knowing your professional aspirations allows you to best evaluate the suitability of career options. It gives you the chance to identify all the various industries and job types available to you. It helps determine which factors do not resonate with you and which ones to explore further.

4.You can better identify and develop skills.

A career trajectory plan is a valuable way to evaluate which qualifications you may need to gain and which skills to develop. That way, you can explore a range of entry-level positions or internships that can help you enter your desired career.

5. It boosts your career confidence and fulfillment.

By knowing your goals and abilities, you can make an informed career decision that can ultimately increase career confidence. A career trajectory plan can help you focus towards a goal, and not jump from one task to another. As more and more objectives get completed successfully, you become more confidence and fulfilled in your career path.

Signs You’re in a Wrong Career Path

1. Job Burnout

When a job begins to take a toll on your health, you might want to reconsider your career choice. Mental, physical, and even emotional health symptoms provide valuable insights into whether you’re in the wrong career. A right career promotes a healthy well-being and positive working environment.

2. Poor Job Performance

If you’re not satisfied with your job, you may experience a decline in your work performance. Underperforming at work can lead to negative reviews and feedback from your team. This can lead to low morale and frustration, further hindering your job satisfaction and productivity.

3. Work-Life Imbalance

Pursuing a career that you love is fulfilling, but if it consumes a big portion of your time, leaving you without any for yourself or your loved ones – you might want to consider career change. A job that consumes too much of your time and energy can negatively impact your health, relationships, and hobbies.

4. Disengagement

If you feel unmotivated or no longer have any interest in your daily responsibilities — and it’s been that way for months – take time to reflect on your job. A fulfilling career offers a healthy amount of challenge to keep employees motivated and inspired.

5. Lack of Professional Development

Some people may associate higher pay to right career, but that is not always the case. It is also important to look at jobs that take an intentional approach to career development. Even if you’re not stressed about the work, when you’re not learning anything new or feel like you don’t move forward for a long time.

6. Unfulfilled Financial Needs

Financial stability is a huge factor when it comes to professional advancement. If your job isn’t meeting your financial needs, do explore your career options. Different people demand unique financial needs. Hence, it is important to look for a suitable career that can provide you a salary you need to be safe, healthy and happy.

unmotivated employee showing signs of disinterest in his role
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Tips on Ensuring a Positive Career Trajectory

Every professional wants to become successful in their chosen career field. Know how to improve your career trajectory by heeding our expert tips.

1. Identify your professional goals.

First thing first, you must identify your goals before diving into any career plans or changes ahead. Setting career goals will help you focus on your professional development, achieve your desired outcomes, and improve overall productivity. Having that said, your personal goals can also affect career trajectory. You may want to take on a job that allows you time to travel, or you may prioritize stability so you can support your family. Consider different factors in your goal setting so you can achieve a more fulfilling career path.

2. Seek out a mentor.

Find a mentor who have your best interests in mind, and who will help you reflect on your career goals. A mentor can be someone who has succeeded in the role you hope to achieve. Mentors can provide valuable insights about your career, give you the confidence to make changes, and help keep you on track. Remember that mentoring relationship is a two-way street, so it is important to communicate regularly and ask for feedback.

3. Build your network.

Networking with people in your industry can open you up to opportunities to key into. Search for people who have a similar career path as you or people currently working in positions you want to reach. Networking also involves staying connected with people you already know, such as former coworkers and managers who might alert you to potential opportunities within their companies or fields.

4. Develop your skills.

Besides the technical skills required for the role, transferable skills can prove usable from one career to another. It will ensure that you work well and are, therefore, highly valuable to any organization. Identifying your transferable skills makes transitioning to a new career easier and more successful.

5. Track your progress regularly.

One of the mistakes in plotting career trajectory is that employees don’t do it regularly. Often, they only reflect at their career when they feel unfulfilled and want to quit. The key in career planning to track your progress regularly – every six months at the least. That way, you’ll be able to measure how far are you from meeting your goals and reflect on what else you need.

An effective method for measuring progress is documenting it. No matter how small, acknowledging every win is crucial to boosting your morale. You can create a list of your wins to keep track of them. This list can serve you well in performance appraisals or reviews. It can also be a valuable negotiation tool when discussing your promotion at work or salary increase.

enthusiastic employee delivering an impressive presentation
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Take Charge of Your Career Trajectory with the Help of Resume Experts

Your career trajectory is your own responsibility. You don’t just go wherever the road takes you – instead, be in the driver seat and take charge of your career path. With guidance and planning, you can identify your most important objectives and experience a career trajectory that is fulfilling and meaningful to you.

Are you ready to make a big career move? Whether you are looking for a job or shifting career, now is the perfect time to update your resume. Let our resume experts will help you choose the right resume format and align it to your goals. You can also search for tips and resources from experts to help you on your journey to achieve your career goals. Contact us today!