What does career development mean to you? This is a very personal question which will likely mean different things to you during various stages of your career.

What does it mean to you right now? I believe exploring this question has been key to my own personal and professional growth. For example, for you is it about…

  • getting promoted to a new or more senior role?
  • taking on a brand new role?
  • greater autonomy in your current role?
  • developing a new skill or competency?
  • mastering an existing skill?
  • travel and exploring new cultures?

In my opinion, the first step to developing your career is to understand what you want, and what growth means personally to you. Once you can start to clarify your priorities and what you want from your career, you can start to figure out what you might need to move yourself forward (i.e. where are the gaps?). I’ve found these gaps typically fall into one of two buckets:

Is there a gap related to skills development?

Perhaps you’ve identified that you want to develop a new skill, or master an existing one. In this case, you might…

  • Find a mentor/subject matter expert
  • Find a coach
  • Obtain training (seminars, courses, etc.)
  • Join a relevant professional organization

Is there a gap related to opportunities?

Perhaps you’ve not been given the chance to demonstrate a talent or skill that you already possess. In this case, you might…

  • Ask for a special assignment or project
  • Consider a lateral move to a new role
  • Volunteer, network, participate and generally get involved
  • Meet regularly with your manager to talk about your progress

Ultimately, remember that YOU need to own your career, and not expect your manager or supervisor to drive it on your behalf.

To recap, take these four basic steps to build an action plan that can move your career forward:

  1. Decide “What Matters Most” to you
  2. Identify the gaps based on your personal priorities
  3. Choose appropriate tools & approach to close the gap(s)
  4. Most of all… ENJOY the journey!

Original article on linkedin

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