Starting out and making progress in your career isn’t just about moving up the corporate ladder. The last blog talked about Career Development. I gave some tips to build a good career. Now, in this blog, we’ll talk about career progression.
See, career progression is all about how you move from where you are now to where you want to go next. It’s about taking intentional and calculated steps and continuously improving. Understanding what career progression really means is key to steering your career in the direction you desire. More later.
We’ll also talk about why career progression matters, its benefits, and some practical tips to help you map out your personal path to professional success. If you’ve already joined the FuelEd Community, you’ll probably have a good idea. If you don’t, read till the end carefully.
What is Career Progression?
Career progression is about moving forward in your work life. It could mean different things—like getting a promotion, trying out new job opportunities, or switching to a job or company that feels better for you. It’s all about achieving what you aim for in your career.
But here’s the thing: career progression isn’t just about titles or more money. It’s also about feeling good about the direction your career is heading. It could mean taking jobs or chances that help you grow personally and professionally.
And believe it or not, it can even mean building a career out of doing something you’re passionate about.
There’s no strict rule saying what career progression should look like. It’s different for everyone. Whether it’s climbing the usual career ladder or making your own unique path that makes you happy, career progression is about reaching your version of success.
Career Evolution and Advancement:
Career progression is about moving upward or sideways in your career—acquiring expertise, taking on more responsibility, or even exploring different job roles within your field.
Unlike general career growth, which happens organically through experiences, career progression is purposeful. It’s setting your sights on specific goals, actively working towards them, and making strategic decisions to reach those milestones.
You probably don’t understand a word I’m saying. But understanding this difference helps in planning your career journey with purpose and direction. Don’t worry, though; keep reading.
Benefits of Career Progression
Alright, before you start thinking – “It’s a hassle; I’ll probably just get a job and take it from there,” let’s talk about why moving ahead in your career is a big deal. It’s not just about the fancy job titles or more money (although those are cool, too, right?).
1. Professional Growth: Imagine constantly adding new skills to your resume or getting better at the ones you already have. That’s what career progression does—it gives you the opportunity to explore new possibilities, learn new skills, and upskill. You become more adaptable to changes, a bonus!
2. Better Job Satisfaction: Getting ahead in your career often means being happier at work. Whether it’s achieving your personal goals, taking on exciting projects, or doing a job that truly fires you up.
3. More and Better Opportunities: As you climb the corporate ladder and gain more experience, you’ll open doors to new opportunities. Think about bigger responsibilities, leading teams, or getting your hands on those projects you always dreamed of working on.
4. Financial Progression: Okay, we may debate if money can buy everything or not. But let’s be real—it’s nice when your career growth brings in some extra cash. Becoming an experienced expert in your field often means a fatter paycheck.
5. Professional Recognition and Confidence: Ever wanted a round of applause for your hard work? This recognition not only boosts your self-esteem but also increases your credibility in your field, leading to more opportunities.
6. Work-Life Harmony: As you move up, some jobs give you a bit more say in how you manage your time. Progressing in your career also leads to positions that offer improved work-life balance, allowing you to prioritize personal commitments. Win-win!
Also Read: Career Development Tips 2024
5 Practical Tips to Develop Your Career Progression Plan
You must be convinced to have a good career progression plan by now, I’m sure. Now, let’s look at the 5-steps for you:
1. Evaluate Your Current Role:
Start by assessing where you stand in your job. Take note of your skills, strengths, weaknesses, and the responsibilities you handle. Get feedback from peers or supervisors if you can. Nothing’s better than honest feedback.
This self-reflection helps pinpoint areas needing improvement and areas where you excel. Make a list or use a career assessment tool to get a clear picture.
2. Create SMART Goals:
Craft goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). For instance, instead of a vague “I want to grow in my career,” set a specific target like “I aim to gain a project management certification within the next six months.”
Break these goals into actionable steps, setting deadlines and milestones to measure progress. This strategy keeps you focused and accountable.
3. Build Your Professional Network:
Networking is more than just shaking hands and knowing each other’s names; it’s about building genuine connections. Attend industry events, join professional groups, and engage on platforms like LinkedIn.
Initiate conversations, offer help, and seek advice from peers and mentors. Maintain a giver attitude. Help any and everyone in any way you can. It will come back!
I can’t stress enough on networking.
4. Keep Learning, Keep Growing:
Continuous learning is key. Identify areas where you need to upskill or gain new knowledge relevant to your field. Explore online courses, workshops, or mentorship programs. Obtain certifications or enroll in further education if necessary. Set aside dedicated time for learning and apply newly acquired skills in your job to solidify them.
5. Dare to Take on Challenges:
Step out of your comfort zone by volunteering for new projects or initiatives. Seek opportunities that stretch your capabilities, even if they seem daunting initially. Take on additional responsibilities or roles that expose you to different facets of your profession.
Embrace these challenges as learning experiences that contribute to your growth. I, too, used to say Yes to any offered project. Say yes, get the work; you can always learn the work after that!
Difference Between Career Progression and Career Growth
Alright, so I know a lot of you will mistake career progression and career growth to be the same thing. They’re like two peas in a pod, but not all the same.
You’ve understood career progression so far. Think of it as the intentional steps you take to climb up or sideways in your career. It’s about aiming for specific roles, acquiring new skills, and moving toward your career goals. This part is like your roadmap—it’s where you plan and make deliberate moves to get where you want to be.
Now, career growth is more about the overall journey. It’s the sum of all your experiences, skills, and knowledge accumulated throughout your career. It’s what naturally happens as you learn, adapt, and gain expertise over time.
How They Work Together:
Career growth lays the groundwork for career progression. As you grow and learn in your field, it creates opportunities for intentional steps forward. Progression builds upon this growth by guiding your path and setting clear goals based on what you’ve learned.
In simpler terms, career growth is like the foundation of a building, while career progression is the architect’s plan for building something amazing on that foundation. They go hand in hand, supporting and driving each other for your professional journey.
Understanding this relationship helps you make smarter career choices—using what you’ve learned to aim for where you want to go.
Did the article get too long? Here’s a short summary: Career progression is the intentional route from where you are to where you want to be, driven by calculated and strategic moves. Remember those tips we talked about? They’re not just suggestions; they’re the blueprint to build your own career progression plan.
In today’s ever-changing work world, staying adaptable and growing continuously is a skill you need to learn. You need to understand the difference between career progression and growth plans. You need to plan both; you need to plan your career. FuelEd can help, but at the end of the day, it’s your work.