Most professional builders wouldn’t dream of starting on a project without a set of blueprints. The detailed drawings are essential to guiding the process of building so that no important factors are left out. The blueprints are examined, changed where potential problems are noted, and referred to during the entire process.
Your career plans should have a set of blueprints, too. They don’t have to be big pieces of paper with diagrams on them, but there should be a carefully-thought-out plan that you follow to make sure all the important factors are being addressed. You should be looking at your career blueprint at least once a year and thinking about these questions:
- Is this still where I want my future to be?
- Does my resume need to be updated?
- Are my social networking sites in sync?
- What’s working for me?
- What needs to change?
- How will I implement those changes?
The end of one year and beginning of the new is a popular time for looking at things like this. But be careful about making all those New Year’s Resolutions that end up ignored in February! Most people decide to toss the blueprint they were using and start over, then they get discouraged because it is too much change, too fast, and too difficult to maintain.
There is a lot in your life that is working well, and you want to build on that good foundation with small changes instead of completely changing an area. Sometimes, it is true that you have to tear down an old building and start over but many builders will renovate a beautiful older building and keep all the good stuff. Your career is like a building in this way — most of the time, the best can be presented in a well-written resume and a new job is offered because of the good stuff you bring to the position.
A blueprint is a professional, carefully designed picture of the planned project that is followed, evaluated, and only redesigned when necessary. The blueprint for your career should be treated the same way.