Career development is usually compared to climbing a ladder, although today it is more like a climbing wall: in many companies you can develop a variety of competencies and engage not only in your own areas, but also in related areas.
When talking about career development, many people think that the only way is to change employers. However, practice shows that development within your own company is often the better solution for both professional and financial growth.
In what cases is it worth staying at your current job and developing within your company?
- The tasks you are doing now are interesting to you, and you know how to scale them. You also understand how to reach a higher level and increase your area of responsibility.
- The current company and team are open to new technologies, try to improve processes and generally have a positive attitude towards change.
- The company gives you enough motivation. For example, recognition of your expertise is important to you: positive feedback about your work, the opportunity to share experience and knowledge in the process of training colleagues.
- The atmosphere in the company and team is favorable and helps to develop, and the company’s values coincide with yours.
- The company’s financial policy is transparent: you understand what needs to be done to get a salary increase.
- The employer feels confident in the market; there are no serious crises or difficulties in the company.
- You are comfortable with the work format offered by the company. If personal interaction with colleagues is important to you, shared days in the office will help build teamwork and relationships.
If at least one or more items from the list apply to you, try to consider the option of developing within the company. If you want to make a real leap in your career in 2024, you must first decide in which direction to move next.
The most important thing is to understand what you do well, what you really want to do and what you can offer to the business. Answer the following questions as honestly and thoroughly as possible.
- What brings me pleasure at work/projects?
- What tasks are most interesting to me?
- What tasks develop me the most?
- How useful are the tasks I do for the team and the company as a whole?
Based on these answers, you can compile a list of your strengths, and also determine what kind of professional future will be bright for you.
It is customary to identify 3 key areas of development within the company:
- Expert – when you see your development within the framework of a specific competency or set of competencies, that is, it is important for you, first of all, to be an expert.
- Project – when you are interested in project activities and are ready to act as a project manager. This direction can be either independent or go in parallel with expert development.
- Development as a manager – when the development of leadership and management competencies is important to you: vertical growth in leads and managers, focus on developing soft skills, managerial competencies, managing people and teams.
So, you have identified point B in building a career. Now it is important to understand what development tools you can use within the company. Of course, company structures and approaches may differ, so I will try to highlight those that you can initiate yourself.
1. Regular 1-1 meetings with the manager to synchronize with business needs. These meetings are needed so that the manager knows about your career goals, and you understand that these goals can be realized in the company.
For example, you see your development in project management, and within the team one of the main goals is process optimization. This will require the implementation of several projects, so you will definitely have the opportunity to prove yourself.
2. Collecting feedback. For further growth, it is important for a specialist to understand his strengths and areas for development. Therefore, if the company does not regularly collect feedback, I always recommend asking for feedback from your manager and colleagues yourself: this will help avoid surprises when discussing opportunities for your development.
3. Use PDP (personal development planning) – an individual development plan that records the specific skills that an employee should possess and the tasks that he should be able to solve using these skills.
If your company does not use PDP, you can find a free template in open sources and use it when determining, together with your manager, what skills need to be improved to strengthen the team.
4. Mentoring. Any senior colleague who has experience in solving similar problems can become your mentor. Ask a colleague to share his knowledge and useful materials with you, show examples of problems and ways to solve them – this will help you look at your work from a new angle.
5. Training: internal and external. Today, many companies offer training opportunities for specialists. If your organization does not have internal training, you can find a lot of information in open sources, join specialized communities, attend professional conferences and take useful courses in your field.