For employees to advance and grow into leadership positions, they need to design their own career development strategies.
If your employer doesn’t currently offer professional development programs on account of their lack of resources, changing infrastructure, or another roadblock, do not fret. There are a handful of things you can do right now to learn, grow, and move toward a rewarding career.
Before we tackle that, let’s understand the three different developments you need to undergo that will supplement your career growth.
3 Types of Development
Development is the process of learning and training on new things that ultimately lead to growth. That is to say, development is the actions you take that initiate growth.
- Personal Development is developing skills and knowledge in order to achieve your personal potential. It could take the form of learning outside the workplace, improving health, enhancing social interaction, or simply having fun.
- Career Development is all about directing learning activities towards your preferred career outcomes. This includes work experience and may also include developing your career competencies.
- Professional Development is a combination of personal development and career development. It involves the process of developing yourself, particularly inclined toward advancing in your career.
In most cases, this relates to your current discipline in your present organization. The process is often associated with human resource activities, such as performance appraisal, which relies heavily on reviews.
For example, professional development can be joining a professional organization, learning new technology, or increasing your duties and responsibilities.
Now that we are aware of what areas we need to develop, let’s outline ways that will help you reach it smarter and faster.
Actions You Can Take Toward Growing Your Career
1. Create a professional development plan (PDP)
Goals give you a sense of direction, motivation, and something to look forward to.
Establish your goals. You can implement structured steps toward your goal by creating a professional development plan (PDP).
The good part about writing a professional development plan is that it helps you identify your attitudes, behaviors, and skills. Then, you create a plan that will help you achieve your training and development needs.
On top of that, it acts as documentation that you can use to showcase your skills and competencies to your future employers.
2. You need to be proactive when searching for new career opportunities.
Changing your mindset is a prerequisite for growth. You can begin by taking in a new approach, searching for a new job or boss in a new department, or simply seeking out fresh resources for learning.
Put yourself out there. Try something out of your comfort zone. Look for avenues where you can train yourself in areas that need strengthening. A great reference is the professional development plan you just wrote.
You can also consider mentoring or being mentored. Either way, you learn more about yourself or you learn from another.
Mentors don’t necessarily have to be senior leaders or someone older than you. A mentor can be a friend, co-worker, junior colleague, or someone just a few years ahead on the career ladder.
If you’re looking to grow in your career and expose yourself to new perspectives, then mentorship is something you need to try. You can ask your manager or colleague for advice or if they know someone who can be an excellent candidate.
Remember, you can find new opportunities anywhere. Learning isn’t strictly a formal process. The answer could be staring you right in the face.
For instance, you can find educational opportunities such as webinars, weekend workshops, and online courses.
Finding new opportunities is all about disrupting your daily routine. Reach out to a new face, it could be someone in software sales, marketing, investment banking, or even your relatives.
3. Request feedback from your colleagues and supervisor.
In your workplace, your supervisor, manager, or HR team can assist you in creating a roadmap for your career growth. After all, encouraging your development to become a valuable asset is part of their role within the company.
You are likely to take on new responsibilities if others know your eagerness to tackle new challenges. If you’re seeking resources for learning or training sources, check with your supervisor or manager.
In a situation where you work independently or don’t have an immediate supervisor, reach out to a colleague to widen your skills or experience. Inquire if they know some opportunities in your industry.
By getting better at what you do and expanding the boundaries of what you understand, you become more valuable to your team, customers, and company.
4. Track your career journey.
As thrilling as growing is, there will be instances when you experience doubt and frustration. Because of this, you need to document your accomplishments and frequently reassess your progress.
Also, this will keep you accountable for your plan and enables you to act accordingly when your efforts and progress begin to deteriorate. As important as your goals may be, the journey itself matters.
Whenever you feel like you are faltering, look back into all the good you have accomplished. Even small wins count.
5. Stay up to date with the latest trends.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technological advancements are revolutionizing the employment market.
The impact that technology has on employment and businesses is indisputable. Although some jobs have evolved, market trends suggest that employees with soft skills and emotional intelligence in the shifting workplace will most likely thrive.
To remain relevant in today’s work marketplace and discover your career goals, it’s meaningful to constantly pursue methods to develop professionally.
Investing in growing your career, personal and professional development allows you to reap great rewards. Your overall career satisfaction will increase with new advancement opportunities and higher salaries.
When it comes to professional development, accessibility has made everything possible. The evolution of learning platforms into online alternatives has redefined time into invaluable opportunities.
Today, you can make the most of technology and use 15 minutes during the day for online learning as an alternative to waiting to find the hour you think you need.
Whatever tool or process you decide to leverage, dedicate ample time each week to contemplate your performance. By doing so, you increase your self-awareness and take appropriate steps to self-manage.
Your performance doesn’t improve just by receiving instruction or showing up. You set your goals, intentionally learn from experience or from another, develop a support network, and remain relentlessly positive.
Remember, stay consistent. You have to constantly adapt your behavior until you accomplish your desired results.