5 Steps to Build the Perfect Career Progression Plan

How do you make the perfect career progression plan? In this article, we outline five crucial steps to help you get started.

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Do you want to see yourself in a particular position, a senior position, someday? Do you want to become a department head or the company’s CEO?

If you want to see yourself advancing through the ranks, you need a roadmap to guide you. Without a strategy to get going, your thoughts and your vision for yourself will remain wishful thinking. You need to sit down and start planning.

A career progression plan details the steps you need to take so you can move forward in your career as a professional. It’s a documented strategy that can help you get a picture of what you need to focus on and achieve your next-level goals. This kind of plan does not depend on a salary increase or promotion; it’s an action plan that considers your skills and the best practices you need to achieve your professional goals.

But how do you make the perfect career progression plan? Here, we outline five crucial steps to help you get started. Read on.

1. Do an honest self-assessment.

A career progression plan starts from a certain point. That is, where are you now in your career? If you want to create an objective career framework, you need to determine your current position.

As the first step, an honest self-assessment is definitely helpful. You must check on your strengths, your current skill set, where you excel, what you love doing and a lot more others to help you reflect and see where you are coming from. Other questions to consider are the following:
• What are your past work experiences?
• What makes you feel motivated and engaged at work?
• In what area of your work do you think you are excellent?
• In what area do you struggle?

2. Know where you want to go.

You may not have the whole process mapped out yet, but you need to have an idea of where you want to go. You need to set your goals.

Here are a few ways to help you identify what you want to happen in your career or where you want to go:
• Create a description of your dream job or position.
• Make specific goals that can be achieved in an increment that’s close to what you’re doing daily. This helps you visualise it easily.
• Think of where you want to be in one year, three years and five years.
• Consider what opportunities could arise in the next 5–10 years.
• Write down your plans, whether you want to stay at your current job or find another. Do you have plans to transition careers?

Determining where you want to end up in your career, your ultimate goals, provides purpose and direction to your planning. You can have both short and long-term goals, but they should be specific as possible.

3. Evaluate and identify gaps.


Once you have an idea of where you are now and where you want to be, it’s time to know how you can achieve your dreams by comparing your current position with your ultimate career goals. It’s called gap analysis, where you consider opportunities and shortcomings to help you plan and improve.

This is the stage where you can rate your qualifications against what you need for your goals. You can research the type of job you want and see if your skills and requirements match. If not, then you can start identifying your needs. Do you need training, certification or continuing education? If you are a content creator, do you need to learn a new skill, get a new app or buy a new tool so you can make videos that are of really high quality? All of these should be considered so you can map out your goals and critical areas to focus on.

4. Work on your career progression plan.

It’s not enough to identify your goals and areas for improvement. Your career progression plan needs an actionable plan. Time to get things moving!

In this step, you will need to write down the skills, experiences and education you want to achieve over the next few years. Based on this list, you will now create a plan, a concrete one, to reach your career goals.

When working on your plan, remember to set SMART goals for better results. This means that your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. By doing so, you can make your goals more tangible and achievable within a certain period. So yes, you need to create a timeline and set a deadline. Having deadlines and a timeline makes you accountable to your plan.

Among the things you can do in this step are as follows:
• Attend training opportunities.
• Listen to experts in your industry.
• Sign up for a course that you need.
• Allocate budget for conferences and other learning events.
• Get a mentor and discuss your plan and development with that person.

5. Check your progress and re-evaluate.


This is where the importance of a mentor comes in. It is crucial to track your progress so you can make sure that you’re achieving what you have set and planned for. It’s the same reason why companies and human resources departments usually use performance management tools to run a performance review on their employees and provide feedback.

Tracking your progress also helps you see how you are doing in your career and your set goals. Here, you can consider your milestones like getting a new job, excellent performance review or promotion, as well as being able to establish connections. If you have one, don’t hesitate to celebrate them!

Meanwhile, if there’s something that’s not aligned with your goals or unexpected events arise, then you can re-evaluate and update your plans accordingly.

Takeaway

Whether you’ve just started in your career or have been there for years, you need a career progression plan to realise your career goals. We have outlined five steps you can follow to make your plan, but the results all depend on you. We hope that these steps have helped you upskill and achieve your career goals. Keep on improving!

This article was guest written by Sara Novicic.
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