As this year is ending, it is a great time to start making plans and setting goals for 2021. While many people are thinking about their career resolutions in terms of getting a better job or a promotion, very few actually look beyond that. According to a survey we recently conducted, 75% of you do not have a career progression plan.
Thinking strategically about your career will set you miles ahead of those who just wait to get lucky or get noticed by someone else, even if you both have the same amount of experience. Follow these three tips to start planning your career in 2021:
1. Establish your end goal
If we’re talking about how far you can get in your profession, there are usually three paths you can take:
- Leadership: climb up the corporate ladder into management positions.
- Senior expert: lead highly complex projects or work on highly complex products, but without being fully involved in management.
- Freelancer/ entrepreneur: quit your company and become a consultant/ freelancer in your own field or create your own company.
Decide which one suits you best by looking at your abilities, experience and overall aspirations.
2. Figure out what skills and experiences you need to acquire
Once you have decided what you want to achieve, the next step is to determine the requirements for your dream position. If you want to go on the leadership route, ask yourself what’s your experience with hiring and developing talent. If you’re angling for an independent path, you’ll want to consider how much you know about developing a business and acquiring clients.
Each of the routes comes with its own challenges and it is normal to be lacking some of the necessary competencies right now, otherwise you’d already be there! So be honest with yourself in your assessment and also take a moment to appreciate the skills you already have.
3. Take action
After you’ve identified the skills and experiences you are missing, it’s time to look for ways to gain them. If you have decided to advance within your current company, perhaps there is someone you can talk to who can outline the next steps for you, like your manager.
In other cases, maybe there are training courses or mentoring programs you can enroll in to perfect your skills. Furthermore, you could find someone from outside your company to partner or collaborate with in your pursuit.
The actions you take will be highly dependent on your end goal and particular situation, but make sure you take into account your entire professional and even personal network to identify the best people who could help you succeed.
There might also be times when you doubt your strategy or wonder if the plan you have made will really take you where you want to be. It’s normal to change along the way as you uncover new information, so don’t worry if some of your efforts don’t pay off or if you change your end goal after learning more – you will have still gained valuable experiences!
Key Takeaway: Career progression is a deliberate process, start planning for your goals.
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