Back to Blog Posts

Ladder to Success Missing a Rung? You Need a Career Development Plan

Aha Moment: Making a career development plan will ensure you gain the skills you need to reach your ultimate career goals.

You probably have a picture in mind of what you’d like your career to look like someday.

There may even be a specific position that you can see yourself doing.

If your mindset is to just “let things happen,” however, you might want to make a change.

Your career is too important to approach with such a laissez-faire attitude!

The key to expanding your career opportunities and making it to the position you see yourself in is to have a career development plan.

Here are some tips that you can use to create a career plan that will help you get where you want to go.

1.Think laterally

Here’s what to do: Come up with five different areas that you could naturally move into based on the skills you currently have.

While it may seem counterproductive initially, a lateral move can have real benefits for your career.

A horizontal move will make you more marketable in the long run.

For example, when you develop a better understanding of different departments and how they work together, you’ll be more suited for a management position.

Think of a lateral move as laying the foundation for your career development plan.

2. Who do you know?

After you’ve thought of five alternative job options, the next step is to think about people you may know who are already working in those positions.

Making the right connections will open up new professional avenues as you seek to broaden your career horizons.

You never know which contact may be the one that changes everything!

3. Follow your interests

Based on what you’re doing in your current career and who you’ve been networking with, where do you find yourself gravitating? Do you have a growing passion for a certain discipline?

Let your interests guide you toward what your next career step should be.

4. What’s available?

You’ve thought about different areas to which your skills may transfer naturally and made connections with people you know currently working in those positions.

After you’ve taken your interests and where your passions seem to be guiding you, the next step is to discover the various jobs that are available in those areas.

5. The time factor

As you’re researching the job moves that may be available to you, you need to think about timing.

It’s a critical piece of your career development plan.

The old saying, “Time flies” came about for a reason! Don’t let your career stall because you’re not paying attention to how quickly time is going by.

Find out how long people usually stay in the roles you’re interested in.

You’ll also need to know how many years of experience it typically takes to master the necessary skills required for the job.

You’re almost there

After you’ve worked through these steps, you should have an understanding of your career development landscape.

You’ll be better able to look at your path and know what skills you need to hone in order to be where you want to be in 2, 5 or 10 years.

This awareness will encourage you to take on projects, pursue outside education or go for those lateral career moves that will help you develop the expertise to ultimately move up the ladder.

You have the skills to create a plan that will move you toward that perfect position that you’ve had your eye on.

What are the five positions you have the skills to move into due to the skills you’ve gained from your current job?