Career Development

What Is a Career Map? (With Template and Example)

April 9, 2021

Career maps help both employers and employees. They offer plans for success and identify areas of opportunity within an organization. With a company-wide career map determined, organizations can set goals and make major decisions for the betterment of the company.

In this article, we define career mapping, offer a guide on creating your own and provide a template with an example.

What is career mapping?

Career mapping is the process by which employers create methods for individual advancement within their company. Career maps explain the requirements for advancement at each stage of an employee's career. Employees often create their own career maps as they identify their own course of progression within an organization. They create their own progression routes and determine the requirements needed to get from their entry-level position to their goal.

Related: Choosing a Career Path in 9 Easy Steps

Why should you create a career map?

Career maps not only identify directions for advancement for each type of employee, but they also help businesses determine weak points and further goals. For example, when employers find a barrier that might inhibit employees from reaching their goal, they take the necessary steps to send their business in a direction that grants more opportunities. Career maps lead to content, manageable and retainable employees.

Career map components

Career maps comprise multiple facets of information in determining methods for advancement. Many include detailed personality profiles along with educational and leadership requirements. The following list includes more specific details on the various components of career maps:

  • Job descriptions and specifications
  • Required competencies
  • Personality profiles
  • Training and development

Job descriptions and specifications

Every new level of employment within a single career path needs a formal job description and a list of specifications. While many job descriptions are found online, most roles are unique in their duties and details. Interview those within a specific role or those in similar roles to determine a job description.

Required competencies

Especially at higher levels, some roles require certain skills or education. Similar to the previous section, interview those within these roles for their opinions. Take note if they have specific degrees or identify a particular skill set commonality within that level range. If these positions don't yet exist, conduct online research on these or similar roles.

Personality profiles

Aside from role qualifications, another necessary component involves personality profiles. Outspoken individuals generally find more success in leadership roles. Others find more success as part of a team. Depending on the role, you must identify what type of personality fits it best.

Training and development

Formal education only gets employees so far. Some roles require additional training for proficiency. For example, when you identify that performance of a certain role requires bi-monthly seminars or other forms of training, list the details within that role on the career map.

Related: Guide: 16 Personality Types

How to create a career map

Creating a career map is often a challenging process. It requires a significant amount of research but knowing all the opportunities for advancement helps both employer and employee. The following list of steps outline how to create a career map:

  1. Determine a starting point.
  2. Determine the final goal.
  3. Identify how to connect the two points.
  4. Create a series of smaller goals within two points.

1. Determine a starting point

The first step in the process of creating a career map is determining an initial entry position. This is often the role most new hires take when joining a company and has few requirements. The starting point acts as the basis for the whole map. From it branches various possibilities available to those on a given career progression route.

2. Determine a final goal

The second step is to determine your final goal. In most cases, this will be the highest available position and where the map ends. When determining smaller scale objectives, this may simply be the next career level from the previous level.

3. Identify how to connect the two points

The next step is understanding what it takes to advance from one point to another or a starting point to a final goal. Various ways of reaching those goals include training seminars, higher education, specific licensing and more. Each method of bridging the gap is unique to individual roles and industries.

4. Create a series of smaller goals within two points

Similar to the previous goal, you need to set small goals within two points. Earning your position in the next stage of your career often seems like a monumental task. Setting smaller goals between objectives makes the process seem faster and easier. The more goals you reach, the less time it takes to reach the next level. Repeat this process as needed for every stage within a career map.

Related: Setting Goals to Improve Your Career

Career mapping template

With the basic steps for creating a career path in mind, using a template becomes simple. The following sections outline the basics of an effective career map:

[Starting job title: Your first section outlines all the details surrounding the starting point. Include a full job description.]

[Bullet point defining further requirements]
[Bullet point defining personality profile details]

[A heading introducing goals. Ensure your goals are both relevant and achievable. Consider the S.M.A.R.T system when determining objectives as it creates more effective goals. Goals between career stages often include years of work experience, the number of positive work reviews, specific achievements or rewards earned or other related feats. Include as many as needed for the specific role.]

[Goal 1]
[Goal 2]
[Goal 3]

[Ending job title: This final section outlines all the details surrounding the ending point. Treat it similarly to the starting point and include a job description and a personality profile.]

Download Career Mapping Template
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.

Career mapping example

Now that you understand how to create a career map, use the provided template to create your own. Below is an example of a two-stage career map using the template:

Administrative Assistant

Handles minor office tasks such as filing, report taking, data entry and multi-line phone management. With proficient expertise in applications such as Excel and PowerPoint, creates organized spreadsheets and meeting presentations. Greet and assist all visitors as necessary.

*Requirements: An Associate Degree in Administrative Assisting or related field and at least one year of previous experience*

  • Outgoing personality with a passion for customer service

There are three goals for this position:

  1. At least 3 continuous years of employment
  2. Discover and implement at least one method of improving customer service
  3. Attend one training seminar on the principles of management

*Assistant Office Manager: Monitors daily activities involving the office and concierge desk. Schedules building maintenance operations as needed throughout the year. Maintains employee records and managerial procedures. Assists Office Manager as needed.*

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