What Is Career Trajectory? Learn How to Plan It!

Learn how to navigate, level up, and land your dream job by building a career trajectory– even if you're lost in the fog. No map? No problem! Let's chart your course to success. Stay tuned!


A career trajectory can help you reach your professional goals

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What Is Career Trajectory? Learn How to Plan It! Source: AdobeStock

Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in your job and not making any progress? Well, you’re not alone! Figuring it out can be stressful, but a career trajectory can help.

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Understand what you need to do to advance in your career and make a plan to get there. So keep reading to begin your journey to success!

What is a career trajectory?

A career path is equal to the journey you take professionally. It is influenced by several factors, such as:

  • Your personal goals;
  • Aptitudes and interests;
  • Opportunities available to you at different career stages.

Then, it includes the jobs you’ve held, the skills you’ve developed, and promotions or lateral moves you’ve made.

It is not a straight line but a dynamic process shaped by your choices and experiences.

To sum up, your career trajectory is unique and provides insight into your professional strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations.

What are the different types of career trajectories?

There are generally two ways people progress in their careers- vertical and horizontal.

One is by moving up to higher positions in their current field, and the other is by switching to a different area of work that interests them.

So, let’s understand a little more about each one.

Vertical career trajectories

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A career trajectory can help you reach your professional goals. Source: AdobeStock

Vertical career trajectories could include starting as an entry-level employee and then becoming a manager or director.

Another example could be starting as a junior engineer and eventually becoming a senior engineer or even a chief engineer.

It all involves climbing the ladder of success within a company by taking on more responsibilities and achieving higher positions.

Horizontal career trajectories

Conversely, horizontal career trajectories involve staying at the same level but moving to a different role, department, or company.

For example, if you work in customer service and are into marketing, you could look for opportunities within your company.

Still, if you work in finance but have an interest in technology, you could try working with the tech team or transitioning to a more tech-focused role.

Why is it important to build a career trajectory?

Having a career plan can be really helpful to achieve success in your professional life.

It can also help you stay on track and motivated towards your career goals.

When you know what you want to achieve, you are more likely to make decisions that will lead you to success.

How to plan your career trajectory

Planning your career path is crucial, but knowing where to begin can be difficult.

However, anyone can take the right steps to create a plan and move forward.

Here are five essential tips to help you get started.


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Step 1: Self-Discovery – It’s All About You

Take a moment to relax and think about yourself. If needed, consider going to therapy to help you discover what jobs fit you.

When you are ready to start, then it’s time to answer three magical questions that can put you on the right track:

  1. What are you really good at? (What are your special skills or talents?);
  2. What motivates you? (Do you like helping animals, creating new things, or organizing information?);
  3. And what are your values? (Do you believe in being honest, thinking creatively, or always being prepared for a party?).

This self-evaluation will help guide you toward the careers that suit you best instead of feeling like you’re being pushed in the wrong direction.

Step 2: Explore the Career Jungle

Now that you understand your personality and interests well, then you can start exploring different career options.

Talk to people who work in fields that you find interesting – they can tell you about the good aspects of their jobs and the bad and even the quirky things they might encounter.

You can also try shadowing someone who works in a field that interests you for a day, like a career detective, to see if you enjoy what they do daily.

Don’t hesitate to explore various paths – sometimes, the best opportunities arise from unexpected places.

Step 3: Goal Time – Break It Down, Baby!

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What Is Career Trajectory? Learn How to Plan It! Source: AdobeStock

When you think about your dream job, imagine it as the beautiful view from the top of a mountain.

You need to plan your journey and break it down into smaller steps to get there.

For example, you could aim to get a certification or an internship at your favorite company.

However, your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Then, it will help you stay on track and celebrate your successes along the way.

Step 4: Skill Up – Time to Level Up!

Think of your skills as your superhero toolkit. Just like a superhero needs the right gear to defeat the villains, you must have the right skills to achieve your goals.

For example, you might need to learn to use software programs like Excel or Word or improve your communication or teamwork skills.

Knowledge is power, so building your skillset is like leveling up in your career game.

Step 5: Network Time – Friends in High Places (and Everywhere Else!)

Finally, everyone needs a support system.

So, it’s important to connect with others in your field, attend industry events, and be active on social media, especially on LinkedIn.

Building these relationships can open new doors, provide emotional support, and even share resources when you hit a rough patch.

So, if you are ready to start your career trajectory and want to work in the food industry with growth opportunities, see the job vacancies at Panda Express in our post below!

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