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Asked by Hayley on September 8, 2017

When thinking about the future, how important is it to follow a step-by-step agenda? I think as college students, we sometimes get consumed by this "checklist" but if we don't get an internship by a certain time in our lives or complete things exactly as recommended is that truly a bad thing?

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.

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