Don't let an uncertain career path determine your future
Friday, April 19, 2013
By Leanna Cruz
Clear career paths are essential for
employee development. But some companies do not have specific employee
performance development plans in place and others have discovered many of their
career paths are obsolete.
Even the most admired companies have been
slow to develop career paths for the future. This does not mean these
organizations do not want their employees to advance. A savvy employee will
turn an uncertain career path into a vehicle for advancement.
Companies that encourage and develop career
paths for employees provide a structure to identify suitable candidates for
promotion and performance evaluation criteria, plus support development of core
competencies for those interested in career advancement. Defined career paths
benefit employees by giving them certainty of specific skills, knowledge and
experience required to advance and reach their career goals. A plan of action
for getting to the next step is easy to see.
But in today’s constantly changing business
environment, career paths are more difficult for companies to define. Still,
that doesn’t mean you should be uncertain about your future.
Ambitious employees can take advantage of a
limited job scope by defining their own path. Seeking input from your boss,
mentor, sponsor, talent manager and human resources department will ensure your
plan will take you to the positions you want.
Most bosses will appreciate your dedication
to growth and your foresight to develop a career path for yourself, which could
potentially become a framework for developing similar plans for other employees
-- which is something you can add to your resume.
Create your own career
To begin crafting your own path to
advancement, consider the level in the organization you’d like to work in the
next five to 10 years. Keep in mind a 10-year plan must be flexible given the
rapid changes businesses are experiencing. Your plan should consider your skill
and knowledge interests and how they fit with the strategic initiatives
important to executives and the success of the organization. This is where
input from others is important.
Views expressed in signed blogs and user
comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions
of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and sponsors.
Next, determine which skills, abilities and
experiences are needed to get where you want to go. Your plan should include
action steps, short term goals and learning opportunities to develop those
skills, knowledge and experiences. Your plan should include performance reviews
and a review of goals and actions as opportunities change.
The best thing about uncertainty is there
is no right way to get things done. The worst thing is everyone waits for
everyone else to make the first move. Don’t let your career advancement stall
due to lack of a defined career path. Get in the driver’s seat of your career,
stay ahead of trends, develop essential skills for career advancement and
remain a valuable employee.
Career advancement specialist Leanna Cruz
is president and CEO of Positively Successful Career and Positively Successful
magazine, a resource dedicated to helping mid-career professionals get noticed,
get promoted and get ahead.