Your career is your responsibility and taking good care of it yields long-lasting and fruitful results. Your manager and company do not own your career and expecting them to babysit you is a far-fetched dream.
Your career growth plan will provide a touchstone for measuring the desired outcomes to which you and your manager have agreed to. The career growth plan is not limited to providing structure to the growth process and more about solidifying a shared vision among you and your manager about what your relationship hopes to accomplish and the methods for attaining these goals. A growth plan is a collaboration tool between you and your manager. The career growth plan is a facilitator for discussions about how to get from the present to a more desired future.
The career growth plan creates a spirit of accountability by documenting your responsibility in making the future happen. You can take these steps to develop your career growth plan
Step 1: Do a self-assessment
You should start the process by assessing your skills, strengths, and areas the at need development. It is prudent to take a realistic look at your current abilities. If possible use a multi-rater feedback survey or just ask your manager, peers, teachers, family, friends for feedback. After this, outline your long-term objectives, as yourself these three questions
What type of work would you like to do?
Where would you want to be in the organization?
What is important to you in the career?
Step 2: Spot the opportunities
Start by identifying career and personal opportunities and select the ones that interest you. Once you are done with the possibilities, identify developmental needs by comparing skills and strengths with those needed for the career choice you have selected. Don’t try to boil the ocean, prioritize tour developmental area to prepare for a discussion with your manager.
Step 3: Document the career growth plan
A growth plan maps out the general path and helps match skills/ strengths to career choices, please remember this is a living document; needs and goals will undoubtedly evolve over time. The aim is to identify areas for development and provide ways and means to address each of these areas. You can use these steps
Identify an area of development from the list developed in step 2
Identify an objective tied to that area of development
Identify activities that would support achievement of that objective related to the field of development it is anchored to
Identify the milestones towards the attainment of that objective tied to the identified area of development
Identify learning needs and knowledge gaps needed to attain the milestones and methods to address these needs or close the knowledge gap.
Once you are done with documenting your career growth plan, it can be laid out as a matrix of Areas of development, Activities, and methods used to perform them, Frequency of activities performed and desired learning outcomes. Last but not the least the plan must include the ownership matrix, i.e., to be completed by and review dates and the person responsible for it (you or your manager).
With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing, lifelong learning is the only way to survive and thrive in this impending transition. Hopefully, you will use these tools to grow and cement your career.