We know that career ascension requires movement. However, determining when to make a move can prove to be an arduous and complex process. Both personal and professional motives can set off a timer that catapults the next course of action into focus. Therefore, having the right tools in place can help to avoid a haphazard decision that may ultimately lead to career dissatisfaction.
In my article, "Self-Assessment Leads to Career Ascension," I stress the importance of the continual evaluation of where you are and where you want to go. The usage of SWOT along with a cause-and-effect diagram comes in extremely handy when it comes to your position, whether personal or professional.
However, there may be, at times, a feeling of stagnation therefore the development of a career plan can help to maintain focus and provide realistic and solid jump off points when the time comes to make a move.
1. Develop a Career Plan:
Regardless of where you exist in your journey, developing a career plan will allow you to remain focused on your professional objectives. Goal assessment allows you to analyze where you want to be in the next stage of your career and outline a plan to get there. Now, don't get me wrong; plans can change. However, developing an initial career plan will allow you to hit the ground running in the right direction. Your plan will also allow the identification of significant milestones. For example, a career milestone is satisfying license or certification requirements to advance from manager to director.
2. Career Preparation
After developing a career plan, you may find that the path to advancement requires additional skill enhancements. A career plan should embody our goals, but it should also encompass reasonable requirements needed to for career progression. Therefore, if you want to make a career move, but lack the adequate skills or credentials, take the time and opportunity to hone your skills, talents, abilities and strengths. And, if necessary, gain additional knowledge in your field or the field you are pursuing through professional development and/or certification courses.
The art of networking is not only taking the business card, but also following up to make the connection. Reaching out to solidify that initial contact can lead to building professional relationships that spark your next career move. More often than not, career progression is driven by what you know and who you know. Therefore, individuals within your network have the potential to ignite your next move. Familiarize yourself with networking organizations that support professional growth and development.
There are a vast amount of organizations that support the professional growth and development of women in particular. To name a few: the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), Black Career Women's Network (BCWN) and the International Women's Leadership Association (IWLA). Additionally, there are industry specific organizations individuals can join to network with those in their current career field.
So, I say all this to suggest that your next career move can be accomplished with ease through assessment and planning. Keep these tips in mind:
- Identify your professional goals
- Develop a plan for career progression
- Assess career advancement requirements
- Gain new skills and/or undergo professional development
- Chart your career milestones
- Building networking relationships