Successful careers don’t happen overnight. Whether you want to be promoted to a certain position or improve certain soft or technical skills, a solid career development plan can guide you wherever you would like to go.
Here are five ways you can speed up your professional growth and achieve your career goals.
Set goals and create detailed action plans
Setting specific goals is crucial because it gives you the motivation and focus you need to perform better. Goals provide clear action paths and build accountability.
Goals can be short term and long term. They help you measure success and guide individual actions.
Short-term goals are those you wish to achieve in the near future. They are often considered stepping stones towards larger goals. Short-term goals can last anywhere from days or months to a couple of years. They involve fulfilling small projects or tasks, attending classes, or gaining experience. Lessons from short-term goals are crucial in completing long-term goals.
Long-term goals typically take years to achieve and require extensive planning. Examples of long-term goals may include being promoted to a certain level or accomplishing a lengthy and complicated project.
Develop realistic timelines
Setting realistic and ambitious beginning and end dates for your goals can help with task prioritization. When deciding on deadlines for your goals, determine all milestones and potential challenges you might encounter along the way.
If you aim to be promoted to a senior level in your firm, you might give yourself at least a year to accomplish this goal. If you have exceeded this time frame, consider giving yourself extended time or sit down and reconsider whether your goals are achievable at present.
Leverage internal training programs
Many companies invest in employee training and development programs to help their workforce improve skill sets and accelerate their careers.
Take advantage of internal career development programs and discuss your goals with your boss. Some companies demonstrate a deep commitment to their employees by investing time and money in employee training. Many insurance companies, for example, encourage agents to take insurance courses and certifications. Similarly, construction firms invest in their crews by paying for safety and health standards training programs.
Communication is also crucial in career development. Discussing your goals with your direct superior is one way to earn their respect. It also shows your commitment to your own growth and your willingness to improve your performance. The more valuable you become to the company, the more supportive your bosses will be in your career.
Work with a mentor you can trust
A trusted advisor with a proven track record in your field can offer valuable insights and help advance your career. They can challenge you to commit to goals and aid you in keeping track of your progress.
Mentors can help you choose the best course of action in stressful situations. They can help you identify the skills and expertise you need to succeed. They may teach you what you need to know, or advise you on where to go for the information you need. Just like your mentor, you may also improve your communication skills, which can further help you at work.
Mentors also offer new perspectives on relevant matters, allowing you to expand your knowledge and think outside the box. Your mentor can also provide opportunities to expand your network of professional contacts.
Build your network
Showing excellent people skills will attract better career advancement opportunities. Being communicative and open-minded will encourage your employer, colleagues and people you admire professionally to respect you.
To build your network effectively, be an active listener and always prepare thoughtful questions. Sharpen your memory to remember names and other crucial facts. It also pays to always have your professional business card at the ready.
Surrounding yourself with a diverse network of admirable professionals is a great way to meet prospective mentors and employers.
Keep in touch with contacts online by sharing interesting articles or proactively messaging them about similar interests, latest industry trends, or relevant skill sets.
Satisfying careers are a result of hard work, patience and extensive planning. Having a detailed career development plan can give you all the confidence you need to excel in your chosen field.