10 ways to plan your career for growth

min read
10 ways to plan your career for growth

What is a career? 

For many people, career means the part of life that is concerned with employment. From an occupational standpoint, it means the sum total of the various jobs you may hold during your lifetime. However, these definitions do not fully capture the meaning of a career.

We would like you to think of a career in a broader, more life-encompassing way. Think of the decisions you make about a job or a college major as valuable components of a lifelong process. When viewed in this manner, a career can be defined as the sum total of decisions that direct your educational, social, economic, political, and spiritual endeavors and reflect your unique personality characteristics and basic life values.                                 

What is career planning?  

A career may be defined as ‘a sequence of jobs that constitute what a person does for a living’.

According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn, "Career planning and development is a process of systematically matching career goals and individual capabilities with opportunities for their fulfilment."

A career plan is an individual’s choice of occupation, organization, and career path. The dog days of summer are a great time to take stock of your career and it’s a trajectory or lack thereof. 

Career planning is not something that you do once and then forget. Considering that research has found that the average worker will change careers not jobs but careers – five to seven times in their life. Career planning is an activity you should do at least once a year. 

Think about yourself as a business with a product to sell and create a strategy for marketing your value in the workplace  

"A career path is rarely a path at all. A more interesting life is usual a more crooked,  winding path of missteps, luck, and vigorous work.  It is almost always a clumsy balance between the things you try to make happen and the things that happen to you." -  Tom Freston

There are multiple ways to experience career growth by investing in your career development and progress:

  • Job shadow other employees in your company to learn about different jobs. This can broaden your skills and increase your value. Explore lateral moves to broaden and deepen your experience. It's easy to get stuck in a rut. Being able to handle multiple jobs can add variety to what you do and broaden your skills.
  • Attend classes and training sessions to increase your knowledge. New strategies and technologies relevant to just about every career are being introduced constantly. Stay up to date on your job and industry.
  • Hold book clubs at work to develop knowledge, and share terminology, concepts, and team-building with coworkers.
  • Seek a mentor from a different department that you'd like to explore. Leaning on someone else's experience is a great way to gain knowledge and introduce yourself to other opportunities.

Let's get to know about these ways:  

Keep and up to date resume: 

One of the most important steps in planning the future of your career is to be ready to pounce when opportunities present themselves. As a visual person, I love a creative resume. Putting in a little effort on the design side will show that you care about making things look good. 

Make career planning a regular event: 

Find a day or a weekend at least once a year and schedule a time to truly focus on what you want out of your career life. Do things that make you happy and you feel "yes I want this" and "I love doing that." 

Reflect on your career path since your last career planning session: 

Research shows reflection increases productivity and performance so take time to think about your current situation and the path you want to follow. 

Raise questions like, "Are you happy with your career path so far? What could you have done better or differently? What can you change in the future?"

Self-reflection is a humbling process.  It’s essential to find out why you think,  say, and do things. Without reflection, we go blindly on our way creating more unintended consequences and failing to achieve anything useful. 

Reflect on what you like, dislike, need and want from work

Our likes and dislikes change over time, so it’s always a good idea to reflect on what you feel strongly about in your life and career. It’s also important to have a clear and meaningful purpose that you find emotionally engaging. Make a list of what you like and dislike about your job. Hopefully, you still enjoy a lot of your work activities, but if that’s not the case, it might be time to start considering a new job or career. What do you really need from your work? To make a difference? To become financially independent? So take a deep breath and follow the four C's they are – COOL, CONFIDENT, CALM, COMPOSED. “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” 

Keep a record of your achievements: 

Most of us don’t keep a track record of our achievements however this is not only useful for building your resume and it’s also useful for career planning and development.  Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smaller acts this is the secret of success. Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value.  Success is not final, failure is not fatal it is the courage to continue that counts. Keep appreciating yourself. Try to celebrate every small victory. Never lose hope. 

Identify your transferable skills: 

Maybe your job title is a business analyst but you have a huge amount of project management experience – skills that could be applied to other jobs. Think beyond your current job title try considering your goals and have the skills you have now would be useful in a new ride. Regardless of profession or title, at some level, we are all hired to do the same job. We are all problem solvers, paid to anticipate, identify, prevent, and solve problems within our areas of expertise. This applies to any job, at any level, in any organization, anywhere in the world, and being aware of this is absolutely vital to job search and career success in any field.

Set career goals: 

While you can be successful in your career without setting goals, you can be even more successful with goal setting. What are your short-term (within a year) and long-term (within five to 10 years) career goals? You probably already know about SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. Another big part of career planning and development is reviewing and adjusting these goals on a regular basis – and developing new goals once you accomplish your previous ones. So, each time you sit down for a career planning session, break out this list, and review it. If you’re passionate about it, about really living out your purpose, you’ll be more likely to commit—to buckle down and set powerful goals. So focus on what you really want to accomplish, and it will make the journey that much sweeter.

Explore new education or training opportunities

Never miss a chance to learn and grow my more as an employee and individual. Part of career planning and development is finding training opportunities, courses, or workshops that will help you further your career. Few benefits of exploring education and training are as follows: 

  1. More job opportunities
  2. Decreased risk of unemployment
  3. Higher earning potential 
  4. Improved productivity
  5. Lower risk of working accidents 

Education and training are pivotal to ensuring that employees possess the knowledge necessary to effectively carry out their job duties. 

Leverage and learn from others:

Build relationships with leaders within and outside of your organization, attend job-related conferences, and explore other events. The better your network, the more opportunities you have to learn from others who’ve enjoyed success. To find out more about other possible career options, you can conduct some informational meetings with colleagues or managers – people are generally willing to share advice if you ask.

Step out of your comfort zone; All the progress takes place out of the comfort zone

One of the best ways to advance your career is to identify and solve an organizational problem your company is experiencing.  If you can identify a problem within your organization, propose a solution, and implement it then by this you will expand your skills in the process. 

You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is a psychological state in which one feels familiar, safe, at ease, and secure. You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. A fun part of career planning is picturing your career in the future. Where will you be in a year or in five years? While it’s impossible to plan everything, it’s always a good idea to know where you’re going and what various career paths are available to you.

As employees progress in their careers, fewer jobs at more senior levels become available, yet continuing to grow your skills and experience should still be a priority.

You can continue to experience career growth by investing in your career development – e.g., you can talk to your manager about job shadowing other employees in your company to learn about different jobs, or you can attend various training sessions and workshops. You can explore lateral moves to broaden your experience or find a mentor in a different department that you’d like to explore.

Regularly reviewing and planning will make you better prepared for whatever lies ahead in your career. Steer your career deliberately, but also be open to life surprising you with new adventures even if they don’t exactly match the destination you had in mind.

Developing your talents and skills will stretch your world and enable more of your unique contribution. This, in turn, can make your career successful.

In short, always remember to stay determined. You can easily achieve your career goal if you set your mind to it. In other words, people usually distract themselves easily. You must not do so and focus on your career path to achieve your goals  

Your limitation—it’s only your imagination.

"Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success." - Pablo Picasso

I wish good luck to each and every person reading this blog. Stay happy, stay focused.

We hope you got some great insights from this blog. Its now time to apply it. Get started with peopleHum for free today. No credit card needed.

career growth
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employee development

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