The US could reach full employment in 2022. With a market full of opportunities, there is no better time to focus on mapping out your dream job and career path.It sounds straightforward but mapping a plan can help narrow your focus and yield unexpected benefits. Try our six career mapping steps to get started along with some tools we like.

1. Give yourself time to think

Spend some time thinking about who you want to be in 5, 10 or even 20 years. Consider what you love, where you want to live, how much personal time you hope for and what kind of income you’d need to make that lifestyle possible.

COVID has changed the job marketplace so if you can dream it up, your job is probably out there somewhere in an office, work from home or hybrid situation.

2. Personal SWOT your Strengths and Weaknesses

A personal SWOT analysis to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats you face, so you can plan for career success.

Once you’ve found some positions of interest, determine if your skill set is a good match. A great place to start is with a personal SWOT analysis. You can download the Personal SWOT Analysis Worksheet PDF here (https://www.mindtools.com/worksheets/Personal_SWOT_Analysis_Worksheet.pdf).

Once you’ve identified your skills, check compatibility for the path you are researching. Make a plan to reinforce your skills as needed.

3. Mind Map or Vision Board Ideas

If you are like most people, creating a visual of your ideas can really help. Try using a free mind mapping software like EdrawMind (they have a free career mapping template here https://www.edrawsoft.com/create-careerplanning-mindmap.html or check out LifeHacker’s “Build Your Career Master Plan with a Mind Map.”

Do you hate working with online tools?  Creating a physical vision board is a great way to remind yourself of what you are aspiring to. Check out People At Heart Coaching’s tutorial on making a vision board.

4. Research Positions

Once you’ve come up with some ideas, check the market to learn about what positions are in demand, pay rates, time investment, education and market trajectory. You don’t want to get into a role that will be extinct in 2 years.

A trusted resource is the Occupational Outlook Handbook maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

5. Network

A wonderful way to learn more about opportunities and the lifestyle of different professions is to reach out to people doing the job today, talk to hiring mangers or specialty recruiters.

Connecting with people to learn more about jobs is one of the best ways to really understand a role with the added benefit that you are build connections and networking with people that can set help you later.

A simple strategy to find people to network with is to scan your LinkedIn accounts for people you know, but don’t forget to tap your alumni associations, speak to recruiters or ask friends if they can introduce you to people who can help.

 
6. Try, Try, Try It Out

There are several great ways to step in and learn about a job up close.

If you have solid basic skills, you can shadow someone in a job or apply for an internship. Alternatively you can work with a company like ClinLab Staffing to try different short term contract roles.

No matter what you choose, make the most of the unusual work climate that is unfolding. If you have the skills, the desire and a plan you can make big things happen in 2022 and ClinLab is here to help if you are looking for a new role within the Biotech, Medical Device and Pharmaceutical industries.