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Unlock ongoing career success with key steps for progression—set goals, develop plans, and journey from entry to expert effortlessly.
Advancing in your career is an ongoing process that requires combinations of hard work, dedication, and creating the right strategies that fit your development plan. Starting is the hardest part, but once you are on the right track, the process gets much easier to become an expert.
The whole idea is to set clear goals and develop a plan to head towards them. This means identifying your dream job, and understanding what are the necessary experiences and qualifications required to review and adjust your goals accordingly.
In order to create your ideal career progression plan, we’ll give you the key steps to do so in this article.
Your career development plan
A career development plan is a personal action plan that you can use as your roadmap. The most important part is for it to outline the following:
- Starting point: Ask yourself where you are in your career right now.
- Your destination: Where do you want to head?
- The obstacles: What stops you from going in the direction you want to?
- Your route: How can you pave the way to get to where you want to?
Your personalized development plan allows you to specify your career goals and design the right strategy to implement strategic goals for reaching them.
7 Key steps for creating your ideal career development plan
Whether you are looking to switch careers, start a business, or be better at what you do, here are the key steps to creating your ideal career development plan.
1. Identify where you are currently at
The first step to succeeding in your career development plan is to learn more about where you are at momentarily. In the first step, you can reflect more on your strengths and weaknesses.
To clarify what you need to know, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my past experiences?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What natural skills do I have?
- Do I prefer leading groups or not?
- What drains my energy, and what gives me it?
- What makes me motivated to work harder every day?
Write down the answer to all of your questions. Pay attention to where you are currently and what you want to pursue in your career.
2. Write the ideal resume
Your resume is an outline of what you’ve been doing in your career. You are now looking to become an expert, but it’s always a win for you to upgrade your resume. The only way to do this is by creating one that fits your industry. For example, if you are an engineer, you want to use an engineering resume template that gives you a better outline for this industry instead of creating one from scratch.
Engineers are strong in problem-solving skills and technical knowledge. This is developed from an earlier age in their education and professional experiences. These types of resume templates will usually mention this category, and in most cases, employers who are seeking to hire a qualified engineer will look at their:
- Bachelor degree
As for other industries, it may not be the same story. For instance, the healthcare industry has different resume templates. The same story goes for any other industry, so it’s important to choose a template based on the industry you are in and mention everything that makes you a qualified individual.
However, keep in mind that all the general information you include will be the same.
3. Follow learning and development activities
The entire purpose of learning and development is to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for growing in your current role. The real question is, what are learning and development activities that help you progress in your career?
They are activities that promote engagement, develop your current working skills, and strengthen your collaboration skills in the organization. If you want to deliver results to your team most simply and effectively, you need to follow these rules when it comes to following a learning and development plan:
- Defining your goals and metrics: Follow up with your organization and see what their goals and priorities are. Make sure your goals are aligned with theirs, and when starting a project, clarify the budget, timeline, course design, and employee needs.
- Check your learning and development inventory: Check up on your inventory and how you can use it for improving, reworking, and what you need to add, or remove. Organize course names, types, objectives, and how success rates are measured.
- Customize your programs: Combine your learning programs to meet the needs of your outcomes.
Learning and development are important when it comes to progressing further in your career, so it’s important to know what goals you have set. Know if you are heading towards them or not, and combine different learning programs to get the best outcomes.
Additionally, let’s not forget that there are different learning and development programs, such as:
- Personal development programs: Great in helping you develop your personality.
- Online learning: Online learning platforms can be anything from career development videos on YouTube to webinars, audio clips, chatrooms, and more. In many cases, they can also be quizzes, leaderboards, and more.
- Mentorship programs: You are assigned a mentor that can help you throughout your career, regardless if you are a worker, or looking to run an organization.
- Financial Assistance: Some organizations offer financial assistance when it comes to helping their employees join learning and development programs. You can always ask your organization to do so if they allow it. 94% of employees claim that they’d stay at an organization longer if it invested in their careers.
It’s up to you how you would like to follow your learning and development program, but of course, combining programs is never a bad idea.
4. Research job opportunities and salaries
Going from entry-level experience to becoming an expert also means that salary ranges change. The salary of an expert and a beginner isn’t the same. When looking for a job opportunity, you can try using popular job sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Both these platforms will usually mention salary ranges.
Moreover, you can also use other job sites like Indeed to search for your dream job. If you are interested in finding a local job, you can always participate in job fairs.
5. Prepare for interviews
Every job interview you’ll take will give you more experience. However, from now on, there are plenty of ways you can prepare for it. On average, interviews will usually last anywhere between 45 minutes to 90 minutes.
Longer interviews might include practical work, such as assigning you to complete a task. Therefore, it’s important to stay focused, practice, and allow your personality to shine through it all. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be in the interview.
One great way to practice is to write down common interview questions. This way, you can practice your answers and be prepared for whatever comes your way. General questions you’d most likely run into during a job interview are:
- Tell us more about yourself
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What made you apply to our company?
- What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?
- How do you accomplish tasks in a stressful situation?
While there are many more questions you might need to answer. These are the most commonly asked, and your best bet is to write your answer down and practice it. However, always remember to be confident during an interview. You don’t want to try and remember words from a piece of paper, since it’ll just mess your tone up during the interview.
6. Track your progress
To make sure that you are on the right track for achieving your career goals, it’s important that you track your progress. Set deadlines for completing your learning and development activities and acquiring the necessary skills and certificates you need. Try using a calendar or planner to keep track of milestones and celebrate your accomplishments.
Creating timelines is great in helping you achieve short-term and long-term career goals. Whether they are goals in 4-5 years or the next 10 years, you can break down the milestones and acquire these hard skills for achieving them.
7. Set task deadlines
The best way to keep yourself accountable is to plan and assign deadlines for your tasks. Set a start date on when you should work on the task. Plan the preliminary steps you need to take to complete each task as well.
Your career development plan will show you all of the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve your goals, so this is a step-by-step process.
Your career progression is never-ending
No matter how good you become at what you are doing or how far you’ve gotten in life. There’s always room for improvement. Progress is not a dead-end stop, but it’s constant. Therefore, it’s always important to track it and see which direction you are heading. That way, you know if you are doing better or not.
Always participate in learning programs, and never be afraid to ask questions about something you don’t know. You can hire a mentor to guide you through the path, one who has been through the journey and can inform you more about what you need to know.
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