5 Steps To Develop Your Own Career

As many of you know, a lot of our work at C3 revolves around career coaching and career development. I wanted to share a process we use with our clients as we work with them on managing and developing their careers. It’s 5 steps that take you through identifying where you want to develop and how you’re going to do that. Consider it a guide to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

The first step is to Reflect and Self-Assess.  This is about doing some introspective and reflective thinking about what you value and what motivates you.  Understanding your values and motivators is an essential part of having a satisfying career.  Doing this as a first step helps guide you along the path of developing a career you love. In addition you want to reflect upon your career aspirations.  What is it you aspire to do, both short and long term, with your career? So, reflect upon things that you value and those things that you jump out of bed in the morning to do and experience, and, think about those career aspirations you’ve always had.  What is your ultimate career goal and, why do you want it? Take note of these things and then move onto step 2…

The second step is to Explore.  This is the phase where, based on your values and motivators, and based on your career aspirations, you explore various career options and development paths that align with these things.  Think of this as the discovery phase.  You want to explore all options so you get as much information as you can about possible career options and developmental goals that will meet both your desires and your needs.

The next step is Decision Making. Once you’ve explored various options in step 2, it’s time to make some decisions about exactly what career goal you want to set and what development is required to get you there.  If you currently work inside an organization, it’s important to make your decision in a way that aligns with the needs, expectations, and goals of your organization. They likely hired you for a specific purpose and to help them meet their own goals and objectives. If your intent is to remain employed there, it’s important to align your development areas with their needs and expectations. You want to consider these things in the Decision Making phase so you have development areas and career goals that satisfy you and also meet the needs of your organization.

Step 4 is Goal Setting.  Once you decide the development areas required to advance and grow your career, it’s important to set some goals and put actions in place so you actually make progress in the areas you’ve identified.  Make your goals specific and ensure there are measurable milestones in place for you to track your progress.

The last step is Implementation.  Now that you’ve set your goals, it’s time to implement them!  Be conscious about taking the actions you’ve identified so you can reach your career goals.  As you implement, take note of how you’re progressing and make adjustments to your plans and goals as needed.  As you begin to implement, you may find certain things in your action plan need revising.  Concentrate on achieving the goals you’ve set but also allow for flexibility as things can (and will) change!

Think of these five steps as a continuous loop; they should be revisited on an annual basis so that you are consistently in control of and managing your career development.  Although life may not change too drastically from one year to the next, there will be a time when things are changing, which will cause you to want to alter your plan.  That’s why it’s important for you to be comfortable with this process and familiar with the steps so you can easily adapt as things in life shift.  Remember – your career is yours to manage and develop so why not do that and keep creating it to be something meaningful and fulfilling to you?  Following these steps will support you in doing that.

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