Take Time for a Career Checkup:

Are you Where You Want to Be?

Any time is a good time to take stock and figure out career strategies, goals, and activities to further your career.

Most companies set strategic goals for the year and then provide dashboards and checkpoints on how things are going.  I recommend that you consider doing a career review.  Just for you.  Once you do this checkup for your career, you can put together a roadmap for the future.  Why wait until there is a decision point in your career to do this assessment?  Start the process now.

If you haven’t set goals for your career, these are just as important, if not more so, as your work goals.  Set up a Career Performance Management document for yourself.

Start by listing out two columns on a sheet of paper/document.

The two sides are: what’s working in your career right now, and what opportunity areas exist.  Consider feedback you may have received, such as, “You need to be more strategic” or “You need to be more responsive on emails.”  You may want to put these in the opportunity column.

For the “What’s Working” column, include items such as acknowledgements you have received, or things you really love about your career.

Verbal or written feedback is a good source of what is working or not, but you want to be sure to include your own interpretations of what’s working/opportunity areas.  This is your career, and you own it!

Once you have listed both sides, write a narrative on your impressions.  Are there more on one side than the other?  What does that mean to you?  Do you see any trends or common themes?  Truly analyze your written results here and what that means to your career.  Are you progressing the way you want to?  Are there some areas to look at and set goals around?  How do you move forward with this analysis?

Refer to my article on Achieving Career Goals as further inspiration. Consider discussing your outcomes with a trusted friend, mentor, advisor, or coach.

Now, let’s determine action to take based on your assessment:  What can you accomplish in the future?

  1. Would you say your career and work are where you want them to be? If not, what needs to change for you?   Maybe you had an “a ha” moment when you assessed what was working for your career.  Consider strengthening or continuing to grow in some way.  Similarly, for what is not working, are these concerns for your career overall?
  2. Your assessment may inform various strategies you want to pursue for your career. These are high level/broader career changes that you may wish to consider such as:



Changing Careers/Jobs

Managing my boss/peers/subordinates

Stress Management

Prioritize the strategies in terms of which is most meaningful to you.  This is important because there are so many competing priorities in your day-to-day life, and you want to ensure you will be able to move forward with actionable items that can be achieved.

  1. Once you have the strategies identified, you can now set goals and actions for the future.

I once worked with a client to put together a checklist of steps to getting promoted that year.  Promotions have many factors Involved, some out of your control, but for the pieces that are in your control, you can put your actions together in a checklist format of what to do:

  • Talk to Manager about promotion
  • Find out requirements for promotion to next level
  • Find a mentor in the organization that I can ask about my promotability and what I need to do.
  • Ensure I am working at that next level once I know requirements
  • Put together a business case based on roles and responsibilities for the next level and demonstrate how I am performing at those levels.
  1. Find ways to hold yourself accountable to these actions. Set up monthly checkpoints, for example, or ask someone you trust to hold you accountable.
  2. Schedule time weekly to work on your career goals. I find 90-minute blocks are great ways to schedule time for longer term items that have high priority but aren’t urgent.    Consider how to get these goals and activities done.  Sometimes you can get so caught up in your daily To Do’s that you may lose focus of those things that you could be doing today that affect your career in the future.  Prioritize your career work.

Find ways to develop your own Career Performance Management document.  This is your roadmap to career success over time.  There are always strategies, goals, ad actions that can move your career forward in the direction that you want it to go.


Change begins with action!  Review what’s working and opportunity areas in your career and determine where you want to be in the future.  Prioritize the strategies and set goals/actions for the most important ones.  Find ways to hold yourself accountable to completing this work.  Happy Career Planning!

Lupe Wood