Asked by Hayley on September 8, 2017
Answered by Monica, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on September 13, 2017
A checklist is a great tool to help us stay on track, it encourages commitment to a plan and designates the steps necessary toward accomplishing a goal in mind. It works for some people, myself included, in various circumstances. For my career, I had to use a checklist several times to accomplish certain milestones in my career path, such as moving up into a Manager role, or becoming certified as a Human Resources professional. However, my career in HR required me to have more of a timeline rather than a checklist as my main tool or resource to continue upward movement within my career path. No matter how badly I wanted to become a manager, I had to gain a great amount of on-the-job experience within several fields of Human Resources before anyone would take me seriously or even consider my qualifications for a Manager role. My college degree alone would never provide me any advantage in my field. So, a checklist helped me to keep track of skill sets I needed to acquire within my pre-established timeline.
While working on your career path a checklist or a timeline come in handy at various times to keep you focused. The key is to match your timeline with the opportunities provided by your professional industry. And you have zero control of the industry, you can only control your own timeline. Opportunities will present themselves sometimes at the most hectic times for you personally, and you will need to decide – do you take the opportunity now or wait for the next time it comes around. And that will basically determine how to adjust your timeline. Your career path is your own. And nobody could really establish a timeline to accomplish your own goals and achieve your own objectives but yourself.
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on November 22, 2017
Having a plan or "checklist" of some variation is a great tool to ensure you achieve your goals for your career. However, I think it's also important to keep in mind that there is no one, clear defined path to success. Everyone is going to have a different career path, timeline and "checklist". As a student, there are certain "requirements" you should complete during your college career such as securing an internship, being involved with organizations on or off campus, taking on a leadership position, etc. The timing of these events are solely up to you and are flexible, for the most part. I don't think you necessarily NEED to secure an internship by a certain time but the earlier you start gaining hands on experience, the better. As you continue through your career, it's important to keep certain checklist items in mind to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to be a manager, you should have a list of goals you should achieve to reach the desired outcome. The timeline is solely up to you though and how quickly you want to achieve your goals. You should also keep in mind that things may not always go as planned so it's important to be flexible and keep in mind that your "checklist" may not always be completed as planned.