Nov 21, 2016 3:55:03 PM / by Karen Relucio & Cassandra Czech
Today, change is constant. New technologies are developed every day, requiring that companies and employees reevaluate themselves to adapt. You may wonder, what do all these business changes mean to my career? It means that the need to align yourself with a company that seeks to develop their employees, instead of disposing of them, is greater than ever. Whether you find yourself looking for a new position or you want to move up in your current company, make sure that career advancement is attainable. By following these simple rules, you can consider every opportunity as part of your individual professional development plan.
- Look at where you are today
This is the first step you should take when determining career advancement. Is it possible to advance in your current position? If not, what other alternatives do you have? Explore all your existing resources to help you develop and learn marketable job skills. Ask yourself: Are you enjoying your job? Is your current position sustainable? Whether you decide to progress at your current company or at a new one, you should feel confident in your ability to further advance your career.
- Reflect on your likes and dislikes
Evaluate your career aspirations based on a list comparing what you like and don’t like about your current role. Everyone changes, so over time your likes and dislikes may have evolved with you. The new position you’re seeking should suit the needs highlighted in your list. This list should tell you where you want to go with your career. Creating this list provides everyday inspiration and serves as a reminder that you’re actively working towards achieving your goal. Motivation boosts work performance and you do not want to work in a role or company that you hate.
- Examine your past times and hobbies
It’s important to incorporate your lifestyle in your work. 25% of employees would be more satisfied at work if they were given the opportunity to do what they do best. Fill your life with a combination of work, education, and fun. If you are pursuing your next step with excitement and engagement, you will find balance among all these things. Career advancement will be the next logical step.
- Map out your path
Find the place where you left off from the last time you reviewed your career plan. Work from there and see how far you’ve come. What else are you missing? Review your past experiences and achievements. Use these to figure out how you can advance from where you are now. If an interview or certification is required for promotion, write down those steps. Don’t forget that your past experiences have skills that can be transferred to your next career.
- Look at the big picture
Setting long-term career goals is the most important part of this process. Ask yourself: What do you ultimately want to achieve, and how will you achieve it? Research the necessary steps that need to be taken for you to achieve your goals. Your professional development plan should be linked to these career goals. Pursue your goals with vigor and confidence, making sure you have the tools in place to achieve them.
- Explore new education/training opportunities
Always be open to knowledge. As they say, knowledge is power. Take advantage of every available training or class in your field of interest. Harnessing new skills and information will make moving up easier. The more skills you have, the better chance you have of advancing to your next position. These skills may also open new career paths that you haven’t even heard of or considered. Remember, learning is part of growing in your career.
- Contribute to other projects
Another way to develop a career path is to be flexible. Tackle new projects outside your main area of expertise. Make yourself available to those who need help in your company, even if you have little experience in that area. Don’t let your title restrict you from what you can do. By helping your co-workers, you may create new opportunities for yourself. Expand your contribution from the outside-in and show management all you have to offer.
- Research further career advancement opportunities
Familiarize yourself with the career you are trying to obtain. The more you learn about it, the more confident you will feel once you get it. Preparing yourself for a new opportunity will give you a competitive advantage as well. Management may notice your strong desire for advancement, and appreciate that you are taking tangible steps towards your goal. Don’t forget to network, either in or out of the company. Networking can introduce you to a variety of interesting people, some of whom may be happy to help you get where you want to be.
- Plan your career advancement annually
Don’t stop with your next career move. No matter how far you go, there will always be something new to learn and achieve. Developing an annual professional development plan will help keep you motivated. Keep a list of your goals, so you can compare and evaluate them often. Look at what worked well for you and what didn’t. Re-visiting your career plan annually will keep your goals current, exciting, and attainable.
If these rules seem daunting at first, try implementing a few at a time, gradually working your way toward all 9 steps. This method was designed to give you the confidence and clarity you need to successfully meet your goals. Remember that career planning is a process. By breaking down your objectives into these simple steps, you will make your path clearer and your goals more achievable.