Updated: Nov 4, 2022
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Do you feel like your career is plateauing? Do you want to switch from being an individual contributor to a team leader or manager? Is there something in your job that feels like a grind, not a growth opportunity? Are you ready to take on more responsibility and accountability within the company?
Maybe it’s time to transition into a role with more scope for advancement. How do we achieve this? The answer lies in finding out what you are missing, learning any skill gaps and implementing solutions. If you think your current role might be holding you back from achieving your career goals, here are some ways to assess the situation and identify where you can make improvements. You may even have skills gaps without realizing it. Finding out what they are allows you to go after the opportunities and experiences needed to achieve your desired long-term goals.
In this article, we will cover how to:
Assess your current situation
First, it’s important to understand your current situation. Key questions to ask at this stage include:
What is your role and the type of work you do?
What level are you at in your company (e.g. are you a manager, director, executive)?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
How has your job changed and evolved over time?
Now is an excellent time to take an online strengths assessment to assess your current situation and gain insights into your skills.
We change and grow throughout our careers, and sometimes to achieve things we’ve never done before, we have to do things we’ve never done before. By taking stock of your current situation, you can identify where your skills and experience are strongest, and also where the opportunities for improvement lie.
Clarify what you want to achieve
Next, clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve. This is an important part of the Career Planning process.
To get started, ask yourself:
Are there opportunities within the company that you would like to pursue?
What are the next steps to achieving that opportunity?
What kind of skills and experience do you need to achieve the promotion or role you want?
What skills gaps are preventing you from getting there?
By taking the time to think about what you want out of your current role and future career, you can then identify any skill gaps you might have. This will also help you identify which skills you need to develop to reach your goals. Once you know what you’re missing, you can then create a plan to acquire the skills you need. This can include taking on new projects, meeting people who have the skills you want to learn, or taking the time to go back to school and get the certification you need.
Find the skill gaps holding you back
Once you’ve outlined your career plan and clarified the opportunities that you would like to pursue, next identify which skills will be most important to your long term success. This is where you'll discover any gaps that might be holding you back.
Begin by searching online and reviewing similar job descriptions. Make a list of the required skills, and align them with the ones you already possess. If you find your skills don’t quite match your desired role, don't be discouraged - with time and perseverance, there are several ways you can map out your professional development and achieve your career goals!
Begin by asking yourself a few questions:
What skills do I need to learn or improve on to achieve my desired promotion?
What gaps are preventing me from reaching my goals?
What skills are most in demand in my industry or in the company?
What are the soft skills needed for my role?
What technical skills do I need?
What knowledge or experience gaps do I have?
Once you’ve identified your skill gaps, next you can create a Professional Development Plan to close them.
Create a Professional Development Plan to fill skill gaps
While having a career coach can be highly beneficial for your professional development, your journey can start with smaller steps. There are a variety of ways to get started, including:
Enrol in a self-paced professional development course.
Volunteer to gain experience in any areas you currently lack.
Sign up for a part time traineeship/internship.
Take on new projects or assignments that allow you to practice the skills you want to learn.
Identify people who have the skills you want to learn. Reach out to them and ask them how they got those skills and what advice they might have for you.
Build your professional network to connect with other people who have the skills you want to learn, or organisations that can help you learn those skills.
Find a career mentor in the industry.
Follow relevant thought leaders on LinkedIn and read their articles while you have your morning coffee.
Dial into an industry-relevant webinar while you have your lunch.
Choose a book that applies to your current role and read one chapter each evening.
Another option is to subscribe to a podcast or two and use these as a source to continuously educate yourself on timely subjects.
If you're a note taker, record your key learnings and review your notes at a set time each week. This will help you implement ideas and provide an immediate boost to your performance at work.
At all stages of your career, making your professional development a habit keeps you feeling inspired, full of fresh ideas to bring to the table. It's an essential practise which keeps you green, growing and ahead of the curve in today's fast paced business landscape.
Refine your Career Plan
Before you dive into any professional development training, you should refine your Career Plan. Our free strategy session service is a great way to conduct an effective check-up!
If you find yourself in a rut, or feel like you have hit a wall in your career, it could be a sign that you have skill gaps that are preventing you from moving forward. Before you can move up in your company, you might need to acquire some new skills, gain more experience, and/or take on different assignments that allow you to develop in new ways.
However, it’s important to note that there are people at every level in every industry who want to learn and grow, so don’t think you need to have all the answers right now. Instead, focus on being curious and committed to gaining the skills and experience you need to propel your career forward.
Working with a Career Coach will help you identify a realistic pathway to your dream job. I can show you how to create the right Career Plan for your success. This will ensure your professional development efforts are focused on what matters to YOU.
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