What is a Career Roadmap? (Explanation + Examples)

By Matt Mazur · Last updated March 3, 2022

Creating a career path plan presents is important if you want to advance in your field.

It's essential to use a career path roadmap as a lifelong, personal management tool if you truly want to achieve your goals (which, as a normal human being, you should, so listen up!)

Employees often work with their supervisors to develop a performance development plan (PDP). PDPs serve to plan developmental opportunities for the employee.

Career paths act as a compass for an employee towards attaining their professional end goals. Through a career roadmap's direction, progress can be easily and accurately measured.

Without a solid career roadmap in place, it’s easy to sleepwalk through your career – many people assume they’re making progress, when in reality, they’re going nowhere.

Creating a Career Development Roadmap

Coming up with a sound career development roadmap is crucial for your future success. In this section, we’re going to outline the most important parts of this process:

Nail Down Your Dream Job

What are your interests?

How do your interests line up with positions in your organization?

Answering these questions will help point you in the right direction.

After identifying a dream position, utilize the resources within your organization for further direction. A supervisor or human resource employees can help outline the jobs and departments you'll need to navigate to reach your ideal position.

The road to success is never straight. While developing a career roadmap, you'll need to be aware of the possible lateral moves that might be necessary for acquiring your dream job.

These lateral moves include departmental transfers in addition to strategic promotions.

Pursue consistent coaching from your supervisor and seek out mentors to further aid you along your journey. Seeking out employees that work at a higher position will help elevate your practices as well.

They say if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Likewise, you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Keeping that in mind, if you truly want to advance in your career, you need to surround yourself with people who are doing the same.

People are a product of their environment. Surround yourself with individuals who you aspire to be like to become a similar version!

Figure Out What That Job Entails

What are the skills, experience, and credentials you will need to perform in your desired position adequately? A well-run organization that supports career road-mapping will make the job requirements for your desired position crystal clear.

When seeking out the information mentioned above, look for the following opportunities within your company:

  • Position descriptions
  • Position specifications
  • Necessary abilities
  • A responsive application team
  • Access to employees currently in the desired position
  • Training sessions
  • On-the-job development practices
  • Shadowing of positions
  • Available mentors
  • Promotions
  • Transfer opportunities
  • Supervisor coaching
  • Succession preparation

Make an Action Plan to Achieve Those Goals

You've now outlined the necessary experience, credentials, and skills you'll need for your dream position. It's time to make an actionable plan that will help you work toward your goal.

Make a Firm Career Decision

Are you sound in your decision to pursue a specific position?

Reaching this state of mind is something you have to do on your own. However – aside from the internal decision making you’ll have to do – here are some resources that can point you in the right direction:

  • College career service offices
  • Community colleges
  • Online research via career quizzes

Write Down Your Career Path Plan

Writing down goals is a healthy practice that serves to solidify objectives. If your organization contains a career development process, share your written goals for additional feedback from company members.

Independent Mindsets are Essential

While there's value in seeking assistance from others when crafting your career roadmap, your thoughts, beliefs, and desires are the most important things to consider. Nobody can determine them but you.

Think about it this way:

The person who will care the most about your career roadmap is you. Take it upon yourself to seek out job openings, develop appropriate skills, and gain a mentor most conducive to your goals and needs.

Track Your Progress with KPIs

KPIs allow you to easily measure your progress using concrete goals that you will attain along the way.

For example, a good KPI could be getting a raise, changing into your desired department, or getting a promotion.

KPIs will allow the goals you set to be easily tracked.

How To Measure Your Career Development

Measuring career development is not as quantifiable as measuring sales statistics, for example. The use of lagging and leading indicators foster evaluation of career development.

  • Lagging indicators reflect how things change after career developments improvements occur
  • Leading indicators show how the above factors change before positive career development occurs

Leading Indicators Explained

Leading indicators will help you explore real-time factors that help predict the trajectory of your career development.

Let's explore some examples:

Engagement is critical in providing leading indicators. Your involvement with company activity will help project your development path.

Another key leading indicator is the quality of work being produced. If the quality of your output is higher, career development success is sure to follow.

Lagging Indicators

Lagging indicators revolve around looking at measurable data in the past..

Here’s how you can measure employee lagging indicators:

  • Employee opinion surveys
  • Turnover statistics
  • Is your company filling positions more externally, or internally?
  • How have promoted employees grown in the past? Outline members of the company who have * achieved promotions
  • What kind of innovations are taking place within the company, and how often?

The Problem with Measuring Career Progress with Non-Indicators

Sometimes organizations emphasize administrative factors that have little-to-no bearing on your career development.

Here are some examples:

  • While many organizations claim they support career development, not all companies contain practices that put these beliefs into place
  • Career development often occurs through experience and hands-on activity — many companies rely on training practices that don't always create real progress

Consistency is Key

Similar to starting a new diet-plan, consistency, and resilience toward advancement will help you achieve your desired end goals.

While it's tempting to give up during the first 90-days of your new career roadmap, it's essential to stick to the written plan.

After all, you're forming the foundation for your future.

Here are some common reasons why most will fail:

  • Lack of scheduling check-ins on your career progress with professional supervisors
  • Not being organized or specific in your roadmap outline
  • Misaligning your career goals with your personal values
  • Not being open to constructive criticism

Avoid the above mistakes like the plague!

Meeting resistance is a sure sign of active growth if met with the right mindset. Others who aren’t taking as much action as you will try to bring you down – they’re waiting for you to fail.

Don’t listen, and don’t mind. Instead, push on toward achieving the goals you set out to accomplish in the first place!

If you pursue a career path with high rewards, expect to be supplied with challenges. This is normal, and only healthy for you. Facing career advancement challenges will ensure that you're battle-tested for greater challenges that lay ahead.

Career Roadmap Example

When assembling your career roadmap, you're going to want to utilize a web application that keeps your chart organized with the additional ability to make changes along the way.

Preceden timeline maker offers users direct access to career road-mapping templates that efficiently outline necessary steps aimed to meet user end goals.

The above career roadmap was created using Preceden’s easy-to-use and free to sign up timeline maker.

Use Preceden to help aid you acquire your dream job!