I recently spoke to a group of mid-level professionals who were seeking guidance on progressing in their career. Like most of us, they feel frustrated by the lack of upward mobility and even more confused about what to do.
Below is a five-step strategy to understand where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.
Step 1: Your Why
Think about the title you want to have. What do you want and why do you want to get there? If you were promoted, what would be different in your life (positive and negative)? How would you feel? What else would be impacted?
Step 2: Research
Using similar job descriptions, observing and asking people in similar positions, research the training, skills, experience, and attributes needed to do the job. If it’s not clear, ask. Look around at other companies and industries with similar job descriptions.
Step 3: Self-Audit
Now that you’ve looked into what’s needed, you can assess where you are what you need to do in order to get there. It is critical that you are honest with yourself. I recommend scoring yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 for each area. Anything below an 8, will need further action. I would also recommend asking for feedback from a trusted source about your strengths and areas of improvement. This is not fun and can be critical, but if this is really something you want, it’s worth the work and temporary discomfort.
Step 4: Resources
With your areas of improvement in the forefront, you can now look at the resources you need in order to improve. Is it more time in a role? Additional training? Public speaking experience? Team building and management? At this stage you can match up what you need to improve and how to do it. Create a manageable strategy to accomplish your goals. I recommend doses of daily focus (an hour or less) to stay on track. Create a plan before diving in to prevent over-scheduling overload.
Step 5: Allies
A support network is imperative to keep you on track on your path. Whether it’s a mentor, supervisor, a coach, friends or family, these people will be there to give you honest feedback and advice to take the best step towards your goal.