Becoming a truly accomplished leader is a difficult endeavor in any field. As Mark Zuckerberg said, your challenge today isn’t to find just your purpose to generate an impactful career path for yourself, but to “create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.”

Many people spend a lifetime looking for something that suits their skills and interests while providing a financially secure trajectory. Don’t postpone it.

It’s time for you to take the driver’s seat of your career development and knock all the obstacles out of the park.

While growing and evolving, there are specific steps you can take to gain control early on, even if you’re already employed.

Here are some tips for strategically crafting a leadership plan that will place you at the top of your industry in no time at all:

1. Self-Assessment

Self-discovery is a powerful tool and a critical component of any successful management plan. It’s impossible to pick a complementary career path without fully knowing your wants and needs when it comes to your work environment.

You should invest some time in creating an inventory of your favorite skills, as well as identifying the pieces of a work environment that will keep you motivated and energized year-round.

What’s more is you need to identify your leadership style.

Are you autocratic, democratic, or have an overall laissez-faire attitude?

Is your approach transformational, transactional, or purely charismatic? Establishing these things is essential, as it allows you to see what your strengths are, as well as what opportunities you can offer your employees.

2. Role Exploration

Once you’ve clearly identified your needs for a positive work experience, you’ll need to consider roles that may align with these needs. Certain fields or industries are more conducive to your interests.

For example, some fields may align closely with your values and favorite skills, but won’t support your salary requirements.

Similarly, other fields may pay well, but may require longer hours or more responsibility than you are willing to accept.

Make a road-map for different industries and roles you might see yourself in.

Don’t be afraid to brainstorm, you can always eliminate far-fetched entries. Just let yourself be creative, you never know where it might take you.

Be resourceful and gather every material you think might help you visualize yourself in that dream position.

3. Hone Missing Skills

Once you have an idea of the role and the industry you’d like to pursue, it’s time to begin grooming yourself for the change.

You’ll need to assess the skills required for the role of a leader and compare them to the existing skills in your toolbox.

This may require some research. You should connect with professionals currently employed in the field and ask them what skills are required to perform the job effectively.

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If there are required skills you don’t currently possess, it’s time to think about ways to gain the necessary aptitudes.

Otherwise, your claim to management won’t be valid.

4. Update Your Profiles

Once you’ve secured the opportunity to exercise some new skills, make sure to update your resume and your online presence to include these experiences. Recent research suggests that over 85 percent of jobs are filled via LinkedIn.

This data stresses the importance of an accurate online profile. Additionally, you should keep a journal describing how your experiences may align with the needs of a future job.

If you receive an interview in the future, having these examples handy will help you feel confident and prepared.

5. Create a Timeline

Now that you’ve done the research, developed some new skills, and updated your resume, it’s time to execute.

A long-term plan is critical for career development, especially when your goal is to manage others and become a pivotal figure in the company.

You’ll want to understand the starting positions in the field and create a timeline for how your career will progress.

Careful planning is essential for anyone in a top position, as your decisions and actions don’t influence your career alone, but that of others as well.

6. Connect with a Mentor

It’s no secret that many self-made success stories start out with a great role model. Everyone should aspire to be better at their job and having someone to look up to directly is essential for growth.

Thus, mentorship programs are extremely helpful when mapping out a career. Your mentor should be well-established in the field.

A mentor can help you navigate the beginning stages of your professional evolution and can also serve as an accountability partner throughout your progression.

Mentors can be great sources of support and they can also open doors by connecting you with others in the field.

Career Plan

These simple tips offer a great outline for successfully developing your career plan. Stay on your toes, get the skills you lack now to make yourself invaluable, stay humble, and work towards that higher purpose.

Go write your own career script. Good luck!

How Do You Develop a Career Plan?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Alex Moore
Alex Moore is a West Virginia psychology undergraduate enthralled with everything mindfulness, workplace organization, and work-life balance. He writes for Job Application Center.