Five questions to ask yourself to speed up your career progression

Woman on a ladder searching

In my role I often get asked how individuals can speed up, or take control, of their career progression.

Instead of having answers, I mostly just respond with a series of questions for them. I truly believe that if you take the time to consider them, and answer them honestly, you will be in a much better position to take control of your career progression.

Am I on the right road to success?

So, how can you secure and implement a strategy for career progression? Start simple. Take a look at your current company and weigh up the role you’re currently doing. Forget about the “career ladder” and remember career progression is about so much more than salary and seniority. What is it you want to be doing? What parts of your roles do you hate – and more importantly love?

Do I manage my own progression?

Remember that you are responsible for your own progression. Facilitate your own development catch ups, whether they are monthly, quarterly or yearly. If you don’t think you’re receiving regular enough feedback, try and regularly sit-down with your manager on a more casual basis. This will make them aware of your long-term career goals and you won’t be blindsided in your development catch ups.

Who are my allies?

One of the most important steps you can make is seeking out a mentor. This could be someone you work closely with, someone from your company or even someone external. There are countless mentor programmes spanning all types of industries. Meeting people and hearing more about their roles will broaden your outlook. You could also consider signing up to industry bodies’ programmes and start to attend events in order to find someone who could support and inspire your development.

Have I got the right training?

One in ten employees feel that qualifications and education are the biggest barrier to their career progression. Do you think you have the skills you need to pursue your road to success? If you can prove your development is beneficial to the business, they should consider it, so don’t feel afraid of presenting your business case. Also, don’t just consider the skills you think you need now – but look ahead to the future. How is your industry going to change? Are there steps you can take to give yourself a competitive edge?

What matters to me?

It’s also important to figure out what will make you happy. Too often we get caught up in focussing on the next obvious step in the ladder, but what actually inspires you? Do you love mentoring and supporting others? Or do you take success from meeting clearly defined KPIs? Too often individuals are promoted into middle management because they are good at their function, but have no training on management. Before you get that promotion – ensure it is what you really want.

About the author

Annabel Jones is HR Director at ADP UK, a global provider of Human Capital Management solutions. She is a seasoned HR professional with experience across all key areas of HR. At ADP, Annabel leads the HR function for approximately 800 employees, and is responsible for the development of strategies related to areas such as pay and performance, talent management and corporate social responsibility. Annabel is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and holds a degree in psychology from the University of Portsmouth.

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