What is a career path?

Maybe you are a recent high school or college graduate, or perhaps you are entering a different career. In any of these cases, you will want to chart your career path. The action phrase to this is career pathing.

Just like with anything else in life, if you are serious and determined about accomplishing one thing or another, goals must be identified and defined. You can always make adjustments as needed, but the ultimate goal must be clear and there must be reasonable steps you can attain in order to reach that goal.

A career path can take a year or it can take a decade. This is why a career path is very practical. You do not want to waste many years floundering from one job to the next and then discover twenty years later that you hate your job and have no idea how to improve your path without starting over.

Changing your career path or modifying it will be easier than not having one at all.

Editor Career Path Example

Perhaps your goal is to be an editor. How many times do you drive by a sign and cringe at a dangling participle or misspelling? If this describes you, perhaps considering an editor’s job would be in order.

  • This job provides significant opportunities for work because there are needs with both online and “brick-and-mortar” organizations for editors.
  • Content for online websites and for internal publications needs to be edited by someone with an eye for detail and command of the English language.

If you have already determined that this is the path you want to go, then you need to set up goals on how you will get there. Let’s assume you have already received a degree and have had plenty of composition and communications classes, maybe even a journalism degree.

  • First you need to get your foot in the door to a business that may have editing jobs in its corporate structure. Or maybe you prefer controlling your schedule and want to find freelance online jobs. Whichever you prefer, you need a goal to get there.
  • A career path example for an in-house editor would be to get into an entry-level position and work laterally and through promotions to get to managing editor. You may start as a data input editor or an editorial assistant. At some point soon after, you may want to make a lateral move in the mid-management area to get more experience with different departments.
  • Once you have spent a few years this way, you will want to enhance your knowledge and perhaps education so that when that dream job becomes available, your resume will look amazing and provide better leverage for your interview.

CEO Career Path Example

Don’t think you can become a CEO of a major corporation? Then you won’t! That is the first step to any career path goal. If you do not believe in yourself, you won’t get there.

Becoming a CEO will probably be a long-term goal for a career path, but if this is what you want, you need to be prepared to work ten or more years towards that end goal.

  • You will want to start with a bachelor’s degree that will support all the skills you will need such as business management and communications.
  • Then you will want an MBA. You may want to work on other degrees, but once you have managed those, you may be able to then concentrate on business seminars and licenses that will further define and support your learning and skills.
  • If you are starting out fresh with the CEO perspective in mind, you will probably need to get into an entry or mid-level position. Once you have achieved this, you may need to modify your career path based on the company’s available positions.
  • If you have the mindset from the first day of your first job, you will show this initiative every single working day. You will dress for success, and you will perform successfully, making sure you maintain a positive impact in all your interactions with coworkers and managers.

A career path in any job will help you focus on the important tasks at hand and minimize your focus on irrelevant ones. Remember the words of Zig Ziglar: “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”