Spring has taken it’s time to make an appearance this year.  So, is it now time to spring clean your career planning?

Career planning isn’t just restricted to people who are frustrated and looking to leave their job.  Career planning applies to those who are happy in their current organisation.  Are you looking for the next challenge or promotion?  Or simply want to increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge and skills and become the “go to expert”.

The characteristics that are going to have the most significant impact on your success and satisfaction are;

  • Taking personal responsibility
  • Ability to learn new skills
  • Commitment to Continuous Personal Development CPD
  • Highly adaptable to change
  • Self-belief and confidence
  • Job roles and companies that align with your values
  • Results Driven
  • Enthusiasm and passion for your subject and sector

Most of us will be in paid employment for a number of our adult years.  If you want to remain satisfied, motivated and productive during your career.  It’s wise to select the job that best suits your interests and is aligned with your values.

Having a career plan is not a one-off exercise.  That’s why it’s called a Continuous Development Plan” CDP.  It’s a long-term commitment to learning, developing, growing and striving to improve your skills, knowledge and competence.

If career advancement, promotion and progression are important to you then there are a few strategies to consider in your current position.

Keep the end in mind

If you don’t know where you are going…you may end up somewhere else! You may as well hand over your career to someone else to make the decisions.

  • What’s your career goal?
  • Where do you want to take your career?
  • What are your personal career objectives?

Having a career plan means you are selective and considered.  You can weigh up and assess whether opportunities and tasks are going to take you in the right direction. Having a plan means you can prioritise and manage your time appropriately.

Ensure everything you do is contributing to your career.  And everyone you network with is supporting your career advancement. This type of calculated decision-making process will go in your favour when you want to be considered for promotion.

Managers will know if you are genuinely interested in working in their team.  Well thought out reasons and decision-making processes about your career will make you stand out from the crowd.

Network internally

Most people tend to think of networking as an external activity. However, networking internally is often overlooked and a missed opportunity. If you know the direction of your career then you’ll know the best people to network with.  You’ll also know who to build relationships with that will influence your future career.

For example, when I worked in a corporate bank in the City, our ambitious employees were particularly good at networking internally.  They would be very comfortable approaching directors and heads of department to meet and discuss what they had to do to be considered in the future for that business area.

They also did something that would definitely increase their chances of success in the future, they met objectives and exceed expectations in their current role.  Each job was a stepping stone to the next job, however, employees in the bank knew how important it was to work really hard to do a good job.

By the time these employees applied for an internal vacancy (generally a promotion or career progression) they’d already built up excellent credibility and good working relationships – even before they’d attended the interview.  Who in your organisation can help you in your career?

Keep up to date and informed

Professional individuals regularly read and research the news in their sector.  This has several benefits to your existing career and any future career.  Keeping up to date with the latest legislation, regulation changes, competition, trends, can mean getting the next promotion or not!

You need to be up to date if your objective is to become the “Expert” in your field.  Dedicate time every day to reading the professional journals or relevant newspapers.  Sign up for news updates in your sector.  If you are a regular commuter then this is an ideal time to read the latest news.

Positioning yourself for promotion doesn’t usually happen overnight.  So you’ll need to spend time broadening your experience, skills, and knowledge.  That’s why it’s so important to do something you enjoy.

Having a satisfying career is not just about the destination – it really is about enjoying the journey.