Michael Sterling

A Real-Life Treasure Map – for the Pirate in Us All!


A few days ago, it was International “Talk Like a Pirate Day.”  Ok, it’s a little silly, but every year the day gets media attention and hordes of people join in with a hearty “Aargh, Matey!” This year, it got me thinking that we’re all pirates in a sense. We’re each plotting a course to find our treasure – our goal.  In reality, there’s a real-life treasure map for everyone!


Of course, there are personal treasure goals and professional treasure goals. I’m going to focus on professional treasure.


A Real-Life Treasure Map Exists!


Your professional treasure map is actually your career map. Finding your map starts with the often used (and nearly always dreaded) interview question – “Where do you want to be in five years?” It’s likely you have an answer, or at least an idea of where you wish to be five years from now. It’s also likely you won’t get there on your own.


A successful career map should be created by you and your employer. Done right, this career mapping should begin in the job interview process and then reviewed and adjusted during annual reviews.


Without a real-life treasure map, most professionals get a little lost. The map provides a clear path to follow in order to reach the desired goal. Career mapping outlines three key areas:


  1. Today. Where you are now in your career? What skills and experience do you currently have? Create a list and identify each.
  2. Tomorrow & Beyond. Where do you want to be in six months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years? This is where you and your employer/potential employer need to jointly plot a course. Where does the firm see you in the growth of the organization and how will it support you to reach each milestone?
  3. Steps to Get There. What training and job skills are necessary to move you forward to each stage of your goal? The employer needs to provide specifics on the attributes and experience needed for promotion and outline what professional development will be made available in keeping with the map’s defined timeline.


 Finding the Treasure


A well-crafted map will lead to the treasure. Career mapping has proved to pay off for both the individual and the organization. With map in hand, you feel empowered, engaged and in-charge of your career. In turn, the firm increases employee retention, morale, productivity and (ideally) profits!



Job Hunting? Ask for A Map


If you’re in the process of searching for a new position, ask for a career map. The employer which is willing to spend the time to put together a concrete plan for your future is likely one that shares your values.


If you’re an employer, mapping a candidate’s career provides a clear vision of their role in your firm today, tomorrow and beyond. It also gives the candidate a sense of confidence that the organization is truly invested in their future. Spending time to craft a career map as part of the hiring process is often the deciding factor for a candidate who is weighing multiple offers.


Career Wellness

Interested in more career nutrition? Check out the Career Wellness section of the SterlingFreeman website.


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