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Career Progression

What is Career Progression?

When you find a job that’s right for you, it’s the start of a brand new chapter in your life. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t, or shouldn’t, be others.

Career progression is the process by which you as an individual personally develop, train and learn in order to climb the career ladder. It’s the journey you take to promotion or the next career level, be that team leader or learning mentor, board member, or CEO. There are so many ways in which to progress.

Career progression often happens internally, but it can also involve a move to a different company in order to achieve your development goals. Sometimes, progression is expected. It’s par the course of the role and the career you’re currently in. Other times, it’s up to you to push for a move up the ladder. Neither route is wrong, and both require hard work and determination.

What is a Career Progression Plan?

As with anything, career development and progression doesn’t just happen. The best way to ensure that you’re working towards your career progression goals is to have a solid plan, and this is where Headway Recruitment can help.

Some people know what they want and know what they’ll need to achieve in order to get there. Some people don’t have a sense of direction at all. Whichever camp you fall into, you’ll need a plan.

A career progression plan is a strategy to help you achieve your goal of achieving a promotion, pay rise or other development goal. It allows you to identify the parts of your job that you’re good at and enjoy, set the goals you’d like to achieve and help you on your way to achieving them.

But what does a career progression plan actually look like?

Step 1: Consider your possibilities.

The first rung on the ladder, is to consider the possibilities. You need to consider not only what you want, but also what’s possible and achievable. Think about what skills and experience you have and what it is you enjoy. Do some research around salary, company location and what training and development is on offer. Once you’ve done that, you’re on your way to choosing a career that’s right for you and your situation.

Step 2: consider and list your experience, skills and abilities.

Some careers, and some elements of progression, demand a particular skill set or particular qualifications. If you have them – great. If you don’t, you’ll need to consider whether the route you’d intended to take is possible, or indeed the right one for you. If you truly want a particular career or level of progression, then you’ll need to identify the training and development gaps and start to fill them.

Step 3: set your goals.

Your goals can be large or small, they can be short or long term – but you’ll need to have goals. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to set short, mid-term and long-term goals – this will help you keep track of your progress. Without goals, you’ll have no idea what steps and actions you’ll need to take in order to get to where you’d like to go in your chosen career.

Step 4: set timescales.

Goals are all well and good. Lists of skills and experiences are great. But without a timescale to follow, it’s meaningless. Think about how long you’ll give a particular role, and when you’d like to achieve something more. You might find that your career progression goals tie in with your personal ones; when do you feel is an acceptable stage of your life to progress up the ladder? What wouldn’t be the right time? These are all things to think about.

Step 5: always review your plan.

As the saying goes; all the best laid plans… There’ll be times when things don’t go according to plan. Circumstances change, as do your goals and intentions. Keep in mind that your career progression plan isn’t set in stone (nor should it be). Keep checking in with it, review it regularly and adapt and edit it where necessary.

How Can I Progress at Work? Career Progression Tips

Once your plan is set, the real work can begin. Remember that you don’t constantly have to be on the move to achieve career progression, there may well be opportunities for training, development and progression within your current place of work. You might also find that you’re surrounded by people who want to help you achieve.

Here at Headway, we’ve got a number of tips to help you progress.

  • Don’t forget your plan – use it to track your progress, tick things off your career progression list and keep adding new things to it.
  • Don’t be afraid to change direction. Changing your goals and aims isn’t indicative of failure, it’s simply being open to change and finding what’s truly right for you.
  • Find a mentor who can help. Throughout your career, you’ll naturally align yourself with those people who want to help you succeed. Make sure these people are going in a similar direction to you and have advice to offer – they’ll prove invaluable to you on your career progression journey.
  • Take on tasks and assignments at work. Show that you’re willing to help out and try new things. Not only will it expand your skill set, it will show your current employer that you can be relied upon, and aren’t afraid of extra responsibility.
  • Talk to your leaders and managers. We’re not talking about waltzing into your bosses office and stating your intention to take their job in the next couple of years, but we are talking about being open about what you want to achieve. A good manager will support your aims and help you to develop.
  • Keep checking your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come will help to keep you motivated, and regular reviews will let you know where and when you need to make adjustments.
  • Reward yourself. If you achieve a particular goal, a promotion for example, make sure you give yourself a reward that you’ll enjoy and benefit from.
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