If you’re wanting more, or planning to climb the corporate ladder then you really do need to have a plan – just like a regular territory business plan – outlining where you’d like to get to, and just how you plan to get there. At face value that might sound like an impossible ask. After all, if it were that easy to get to where you’d like to be, then surely everyone would be fulfilling their goals and ambitions the world over, and without hinderance – or would they?
Always start with the end in mind, whilst acknowledging that your career is ‘fluid’ and things can and do change, so you must be adaptable - change when you need to and accept what you cannot change, whilst looking for another solution.
So, in just the same way that you would sit down and assess your territory on a regular basis, you’ll need to do the same for yourself, i.e.
Plan your end point:
Where do you want to get to?
What are the steps/levels within your career path to get there?
Only focus on the next step each time, then perform that role well.
Identify your current offering:
Do a SWOT analysis on yourself.
Review your current performance.
Reflect on your prior achievements.
Study for an external, formal qualification if it will help.
Work on your own professional development.
Continually improve your people skills.
Learn to play the politics.
What does the role that you want actually involve?
What skills are required?
Can you get hold of a job description?
Find a mentor at that level, or above.
Invest in your mentorship meetings and actions.
Pay it forward - mentor someone below you.
Invest in a professional resume.
Update it regularly.
Aim for IMPACT.
Preparation is everything!
Know what you want before the interview.
Know your current role/territory inside out.
Show that you know what the next level involves!
The most significant part of this to take on board is that you need to drive your own career progression. If you wait for others to recognise your worth, or promote you through the ranks, then you’ll still be waiting when you retire, and you’re likely to see many of your peers sail past you along the way! If you’re happy with that, then that’s okay. But if you want to progress, then you need to be focused and take charge.
One of the items mentioned above is finding a good ‘mentor’ who you can learn from. You’ll find that many people are happy to help you; to guide you along the right path, if you just ask? Mind you, it’s important to apply what you learn from your mentor too – otherwise you’re just wasting your time and theirs, and that’s never a good thing.