5 Easy Ways To Self-Check Your Career Development

5 Easy Ways To Self-Check Your Career Development
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 14 July, 2022

Have you thought about your career development lately? Career development, or career progression, is one’s gradual, step-by-step climb up the corporate ladder. It involves, not just continuous promotion and salary increase, but an expansion of your knowledge, skill base, and responsibility. It can also mean professional growth outside the context of an organisation, as is the case with freelancers or entrepreneurs.

If career development is on your radar, that means you have allowed yourself time to step back and do some necessary career development self-assessment. Focusing daily on the minute details of work is good, but so is checking on your career development from time to time. Being able to zoom out and evaluate where you are in your overall career trajectory can be healthy for you in the long term, as it gives you a renewed daily focus, energy, and motivation.

Are you on the right track, career-wise? Do you have plenty of opportunities for growth right now or in the long term? Are you in the right environment for your career goals? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself at some point.

Here is a guide on how to self-check your career development.

1. Determine where you are in the organisational chart

Most companies have an organisational chart, which illustrates how the hierarchy of positions is structured. This could serve as a basis for your potential career progression within the company.

First, you need to make sure that your position is well-defined. This is important because this tells you what your current role is and its importance to the organisation. Then, look at where your position is on the organisational chart. The position above you is the immediate and most realistic next step for your career. The positions above can serve as your long-term goals.

Looking at your company’s organisational chart can help you map out your possible career development. For instance, if you are a Customer Service Representative, you could see a clear path to becoming a Product Support Specialist, and eventually a Team Leader, Quality Assurance Manager, and who knows? Probably even a future VP for Customer Service or Sales.

Access to the organisational chart could vary from company to company. The best way to gain access is to ask your manager or direct supervisor. This could signal to your boss that you are thinking about your career development and could even lead to an open dialogue about it.

2. Discuss your career path with your manager

One of the most critical first steps in self-checking your career development is talking about it with your manager. Ultimately, your manager or supervisor holds a huge influence over your career progression. Not only do managers assign tasks, but they also evaluate your performance and give guidance and direction. More practically, they can promote you to a higher position.

However, before they can give you that promotion, you should be able to check a few boxes first. This is where a conversation with your boss could be very valuable. As the employee, you should be able to express your desired next step. As managers, they should be able to explain what is required of you to reach that next step.

Letting your manager know about your desire for career growth is a very effective way to improve career development in an organisation. Every boss likes a highly motivated worker and would not hesitate to employ all the company resources needed to help achieve your goals.

3. Make an honest self-assessment of your skills and your strengths and weaknesses

Among the topics that you should discuss with your manager is your plans for upskilling. What are the necessary skills and knowledge you must acquire in order to take the next step? Once you have identified these, you can now do an honest career development self-assessment of how close or far you are from your career goals.

Checking your career development also requires checking what you have learned over the last few years. What do you excel at? What are the things you need to further work on? And most importantly, what are you most passionate about? Passion could point to your current strengths and to what you could possibly excel at in the future.

You can look into available training courses, whether within or outside the organisation. Training is a great way to accelerate your career development. Fast career progression requires getting as much knowledge and experience as you can right away.

Check and see how feasible a training course is in your current work situation. You should also assess how an ongoing training course can affect your projects and deadlines. It would be best if you could discuss this with your supervisor to help accommodate your training schedule within your work week.

Pro tip:Download our free Career Development Planner here for an easier time doing a career development self-assessment.

4. Use measurable standards to better assess your progression

Your manager’s assessment of your performance and skills can also be highly instructive on where you are in your career path. Every evaluation period is a great time to check in with your manager on the status of your career progress. You should be able to agree on a number of measurables to help quantify your readiness for the next step. From these metrics, your manager can help you see where you are improving and what other areas need improvement.

It would help if your boss could evaluate your performance based on relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). For instance, if you are an IT professional, how well did you do in your Systems Analysis KPIs? Your manager’s assessment can help determine your readiness to take on greater responsibility as a Systems Engineer or Systems Administrator. It can also serve as a guide on what you need to further improve so you can progress faster. Through clear and defined metrics, you can see your career development in a more objective and quantifiable manner.

5. Take on greater challenges

Sometimes, the best way to gauge where you are in your career development is to put your skills to the test. There is no better way of finding out if you have what it takes for a greater role than taking on a greater challenge. Training, mentorship, and guidance will surely help, but as they say, experience is still the best teacher.

Ask your supervisor for tougher tasks. Volunteer for bigger projects. At the very least, this will give you first-hand experience at the next level. The best-case scenario, of course, is that you pass the test and prove to yourself and to your manager that you are ready for the next step.

Your willingness to take on greater responsibility and face greater challenges is a great indicator that you have a growth mindset, which is important in your career development. Realising your career path takes a lot of preparation and assessment. But above all, it takes a lot of guts. Whatever stage you may be in your career development, it is important that you are always guided by a clear sense of direction and, most of all, passion.

Let JobStreet be your partner throughout your career journey. #LetsGetToWork through our jobs portal that will give you instant access to all career possibilities that are available to you. You can also learn more about the job market and gain deeper career insights from our Career Resources page.

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