While there are many different tools which can make up a CMP, the basic tools you’ll need are the following:
1. Values, Interests, and Skills Inventory: Completing a values inventory will help you focus in on what is most important to you in your life and career. Knowing what is important such as advancement, creativity, security, independence or recognition can help you determine which work environments are best suited for you. The same goes for completing an interest inventory, which will focus on those environments and situations that are best suited for you, such as solving problems, working with things rather than people, helping or serving others, or pursuing more creative situations. While a skills inventory will bring to your attention those tasks that you excel at and to those that you may need to develop more fully. Taking the time to complete these assessments, as well as others like personality assessments, will allow you to get very clear on what you are good at and what situations are best for you to excel. All leading to the perfect career for you!
2. Skills Gap Analysis: A skills gap analysis is looking at the skills you currently have and the skills/experience you will need to acquire in order to achieve your long-term career goals. You’ll need to research what skills are necessary and determine a plan of action to help close than gap between what you have and what you need to have.
3. Short & Long-Term Goal List: Creating your short and long-term goals will help you create your road map to what it is you want to achieve. Use your skills gap analysis to help determine your short-term goals. You’ll need to continue to update and keep track of your goals to make sure you are on track and moving in the right direction.
4. Networking Research: Keep all of your networking contacts and research in one location. Preferably an Excel file which will list your networking contacts, contact information, latest contact and any new contacts you make. Remember most jobs are not gotten through the Help Wanted Ads but through who you know, so get out there and keep networking!
5. Resume: Don’t wait until you hear of a job opening to get your resume together. Always have an updated resume ready to go. Updating your resume at least twice a year can make the difference between an excellent resume and one that is slapped together at the last minute. This is the most important tool in your CMP! Make sure you have spent the appropriate amount of time making it the best it can be.
6. Cover, Follow-up and Thank You Letter: While you will always want to customize each letter every time you send one out, it is important to have a base letter ready to use. Again, you may have an opportunity come about suddenly and having a professionally written letter ready will take a lot of pressure off of you.
You aren’t going to create a CMP in a day, but rather over a period of time. If you know what you want and why you want it, having these documents together will create just the right situation for you to achieve all of your career goals!
Best of luck!!