Hopefully, you work for a company that cares about your career development and offers opportunities for you to grow and advance. But, the good new is - even if you don’t - you own your own career, and you are the one ultimately responsible for whether you advance or not. As the owner of your own destiny, what can you do to make sure you get where you want to go?
Here are some steps you can take to move in the right direction:
Begin with the end in mind.
Think about your future and your goals. What’s your dream job? Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years?
Consider different paths that might lead you from where you are now to where you want to be.
Master your current role.
You can’t expect to advance in your company (or get those glowing recommendations to get your dream job elsewhere) without mastering your current position. Get very clear on what success looks like for you in your current job. Work with your manager to complete a Job Scorecard for your role.
Then, be honest with yourself. What areas do you need to improve? What skills might you need to develop? Who can help you or what classes, books or other resources might help?
Have an open conversation with your peers, your direct reports, and your leaders to learn if they see other areas in which you can improve.
Consider the skills and attributes of a successful person doing your dream job, or the job you’d like to be promoted to next. What skills do you need to learn, what traits do you need to develop, and what muscles should you start to strengthen that will make you successful in the future?
Focus on only one or two areas to work on at a time. Start with any areas of improvement for your current role, work on those areas for a couple of quarters, and then take on some development opportunities that will help you in the future.
Enlist a mentor or coach to help you stay accountable to your career development goals. Check in with this person every few weeks to share what you’re working on, how it’s going, and what you’ve learned. Remain open to feedback, and seek out resources that can help. Our Performance Coaching Tool can provide a framework for you as you work on specific improvements.
Good luck, and I hope these steps help bring those career dreams closer to reality.