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It Career Mapping Done Right

By Computerworld

September 4, 2012

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The career map — which takes all of an employee's talents, interests, and goals and matches them against opportunities within an organization — is emerging as a new way for IT professionals to determine the appropriate next step in their careers. In addition, the career map can assist in planning the next steps the employee should take to reach that target position. Career mapping is of particular interest to larger organizations that are seeking to institutionalize their career-management programs, enhance their workforce development and succession planning strategies, and cut down on costly employee turnover. Smaller companies are less likely to have formal career-mapping programs simply because they have fewer internal opportunities to track.

Companies generally have compiled some of the pieces required for a career map — usually lists of organizational positions and the competencies required for each one, plus resumes for individual workers. But up until now, few organizations have put together all of the pieces — the lists of jobs and resumes plus other information, such as employees' newly acquired skills or up-to-date career aspirations — to create a view of potential career progression based on skills, competencies, and goals. According to experts, a career map can include some or all of the following elements: the matching of job titles to competencies, a list of aspirations, a skills-gap analysis, a plan to add competencies, a target list of companies and positions to research and follow, and specific networking goals.

IT leaders who use career mapping say organizations can't rely just on employee input if they want the program to be successful. Company leaders must also go through the exercise, with the goal of understanding and articulating the requirements of different positions and then outlining the skills and experience required to do each job. That process also helps organizations, by making it easier to assess what type of resources and talent they will need in the future. Companies should be able to identify the core competencies required for particular positions, the positions that will be key for future growth and development, and any new positions that will come into existence — plus the skills and accomplishments that will qualify people for those jobs.

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