5 Elements of Your Career Progression Plan

5 Elements of Your Career Progression PlanOne sure fire way to find yourself in the pit of depression through unsatisfactory work is to disregard your career progression plan.

Some career choices come with career direction done for you, but for others things aren’t as plain cut. An example of a structured career is in the medical profession. You have your studies, then you have your work placements, the shadowing, the junior positions, and progress up to become a doctor, surgeon, or whatever it is, you set out to one day become.

Others aren’t as simple as that though, and that’s why you’re best to have a plan in place for your career progression. You don’t start out on a journey to somewhere without first knowing which route you’re going to take.

You plan the journey before you leave the house, and the same can apply to your career. You can plan your career journey, before you leave education, but if you’re ahead of that stage, you haven’t missed the opportunity.

You can start planning your career at any stage in your life. It’s looking forward and planning for the future, analyzing yourself, the goals you’re setting yourself, and knowing how you’re going to reach those goals. It isn’t a difficult process either…

Here’s the 5 elements to use to map out a successful route for your career progression

1)     Get to grips with your strengths, and avoid your weaknesses

This is a crucial part of your self-evaluation. You need to know yourself on a deeper and sometimes spiritual level, in order for you to know the best direction that’s right for your career. In order to set yourself up in a career, with a job you’re satisfied in, you have to play to your strengths and down play your weaknesses.

Your strengths are your primary motivators, whereas your weaknesses will de-motivate you. In career terms, that can make a huge difference in the job you do every day. An example of that is someone who is excellent at public speaking, but poor in presentations.

To play to your strengths, you may think that your end objective would be to become a public speaker, but when you factor in your weaknesses…there’s a bit of an imbalance there that could cut down the job satisfaction from what you do for a living.

Part of the duties a public speaker will have is to create slideshow presentations, as a measure to increase audience engagement, and ensure their message is clearly understood. If the presentation lacks, it’s not going to be the best of presentations, and therefore not hold the attention of the audience. That’s going to leave you feeling a bit empty, when you aren’t delivering what you set out to from the speech.

A better option for that scenario, (speaking Vs presentations) would be map out a career path, to get you to a stage where you can speak in public, but don’t have that part of your job that you don’t like. You could instead look into becoming a call center worker when you don’t have the presentations. You can start talking on the telephones with customers, working up to a team leader, and eventually into the position of a training officer.

It’s not the public speaking role, because that came with presentations. Instead, as a training officer, your employer supplies you with all the training materials laid out, ready for you to train new recruits, which is often done in groups at a time. You’re making an impact on the business you’re working with, and you’d have the job satisfaction. You can only reach that stage in your career when you know to aim towards using your strengths and not include duties that play to your weaknesses.

A self-analysis of yourself is the first crucial stage of creating a successful career progression plan.

2)     Know your values

If there’s one thing going to drive your motivation and job satisfaction, into a downward spiral, it’s going to be feeling demoralized by the company you’re working for. Values aren’t only relating to the salary you earn.

It’s more to do with your value towards morals.

You have to be true to yourself to really appreciate the job satisfaction when you reach your career objectives. For example: If you’re someone who upholds a strong belief that death occurs naturally and a life should never be taken, then if you were to become a vet to help animals, your moral values would go against your career, when a sick pet requires euthanasia to be performed.

You need to know what your values are and everything that’s going to be involved in your career, when you finally reach the position you’re working towards. Spending years to achieve the job of what you think is the peak of your career, only to find that a strong part of it is in confliction with your moral values.

No salary can replace the value that you have on your moral beliefs. That’s why you should really consider this element strongly. In that example, instead of becoming a vet, you might find that you’d achieve a much higher level of job satisfaction, by becoming an animal caretaker.

Only when you identify your true beliefs, morals and ethical values, will be align your personality to the perfect career for you.

3)     Identify your roadblocks before you hit them

When you’re planning your career progression, there are things that are going to be getting in your way of success. By identifying early on what obstacles you’ll be met with, along the way to your desired job, you can plan on how to deal with that when you get there.

Education and time are two examples of career limitations. If you’re in your fifties and looking at a four-year university course, before you even consider the graduate jobs market, it’s going to limit your abilities to reach your goals.

To the flip the coin into a more not-so-obvious limitation you could be faced…consider this scenario: You go through all the education you need, and invest a lot of money in obtaining the certifications you need to land your dream job. Then when it comes to the crunch of entering the job market, do you have the skills to market yourself to prospective employers.

That’s back to the time and education issue, as you may find that overcoming that limitation, takes you back to school on a marketing course. Whilst not so much for business purposes, if you don’t know how to position yourself to the job market, you’ll hit a brick wall trying to gain employment.

You need to acknowledge your limitations that could stand in the way of you reaching success. By planning things in advance, and identifying those limitations, you could be putting things in place early on in your career, to knock down any barriers, giving you a clear path to reaching your career objectives.

4)     Setting your realistic career goals

This part of your career planning involves you considering who your ideal employer would be, or if that employer would be yourself, if you want to run your own business. This part will you need you to think as far ahead as possible.

Think about what your life is going to be like in the future. If you plan to settle down with a family, then a job that requires international travel may not be a good job to work yourself into. Or if you feel that you’re competitive in nature, you could find that your goals would involve working your way into a senior role, that’s based on performance incentives. The better you do the higher remuneration you receive.

What would your ideal work environment be? A lively environment or a corner office on the top floor?

The better you can envision yourself being in the job, will give you a clearer objective on which job you want to achieve.

5)     Developing your Strategy to make your career plan a reality

The last component you need to incorporate is a strategy that brings your plan together. Once you know the above:

  • Strengths Vs Weaknesses
  • Your values (work ethics)
  • Your Limitations
  • And your career goals

You then need to map out the strategy that’s going to take you there. If you plan to become a hotel manager, with international scope for relocation, then starting out you could work be first become the receptionist taking care of the bookings, and being the first point of contact, while studying in hospitality.

Your next step could be to make the approach to a larger chain, demoting yourself temporarily to a cleaner, for the longer-term benefit of getting into a chain that offers internal promotions. That could take you to supervisor, and perhaps the departmental hygiene officer.

After that stage, your strategy could then be to approach a multi-national hotel chain that offers a graduate training program, capitalising on your years of industry work experience and career progression, to put you on the final path to landing the managerial role you set out to achieve.

The above take into account many a factor that will crop up on occasion along the route to your end destination, so it is a good idea to do an annual review of your career progression plan, in order to know whether you’re still on track or if you’ve went astray somewhere along the way.

You can always adapt things if you do find your career has been side tracked. With the plan in place to reflect on, you’ll be able to notice at a glance where you’re at, at that time, and adjust things to get your career back on the right track.