Career Development Planning

In general, a full-time job requires between 30 and 50 hours per week, with the most common workweek being 40 hours. That is an average of eight hours a day. Keep in mind that about eight hours per day are needed for sleep, which leaves only eight hours for meal prep, getting ready for work, commuting, errands, responsibilities, cleaning, travelling, doctor’s appointments, and the list goes on and on. What about fun, rest, reflection, etc? More often than not, the latter ends up taking a back seat. Planning is the key to managing your day-to-day activities. Planning brings you closer to your goals, and it will make you more efficient with your time. It may even gain you an hour or two throughout your workday to actually have time to enjoy some fun stuff. 

Planning will also help make the best use of your time at work so as to not fall into the trap of working late. Finally, it may even help you get that promotion you are looking for faster. With this in mind, today I would like to talk about planning for your career development and touch on the following three points.

1. Finding a Mentor at a New Job

First, let’s look at what a mentor is. A work mentor is someone that provides support, answers your questions, and offers advice when needed. A suitable mentor is there for a long-term relationship. If you are looking for short-term support to help you with specific goals, such as your first 90 days on a new job, then you might consider hiring a career coach.

Before you go out asking people to mentor you, look inward. If you have read my other posts, you will know that this is the first step in any activity or endeavour you embark upon. Searching aimlessly for a mentor will not give you the right mentor or the right fit. You first need to reflect on what are your career goals? What is your five-year plan? What is the career path that you would like to follow? Then think about how a mentor can support you and how you can have a positive impact on him or her?

I believe in reciprocity. Remember, you have something to offer them as well. Now write down some potential candidates. You might approach a leader in a senior position that will be retiring in the next few years or a peer that has been in the position you were hired for, for a long time. Then plan (that word again) what you will say and what you expect of them. Keep it simple, so they will say yes and not let them do all the heavy lifting. Writing a good elevator pitch will provide them with the information they need to consider your request.

  1. Start by introducing yourself.
  2. Provide a summary of what you do.
  3. Explain what you can do.
  4. Finish with a call to action.

Once your elevator speech has been crafted, schedule an initial conversation, which can be done by email.

Here is an example:

Dear Susan,

I enjoyed and learned a lot from the conversations we had earlier. At this point in my career, I feel I would benefit from mentoring to develop my skills more effectively. Could we meet for a quick meeting to discuss if this is something you would be interested in and available for?

My proposal would be to meet for about 30 or 60 minutes once a month to discuss areas I should address. I will commit to come prepared with an agenda, a list of follow-up items from our discussion, complete the action items during the next month, and report back on my progress.  

I understand that you have a busy schedule. As such, if it is simply not possible to work this type of commitment into your other activities, I certainly understand and therefore, thank you for considering this request and I will simply look forward to our future conversations.

How about someone you don’t know?

Dear Susan,

My name is Jane Doe and I currently work for ABC Company in the Development department. I am new to this field and have great respect for the work you have done, particularly in operations. I would like to hear your career story and ask a few questions about your career path. Could I ask for 30 minutes of your time over coffee or lunch to meet?

I understand you are very busy and if 30 minutes is not possible, perhaps a 15-minute phone conversation is more manageable.

Would you mind letting me know a date and time that works best for you?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to connecting with you soon,

Note: If you don’t hear from them, follow up. Check-in may be in two to three weeks after your initial contact. If you don’t hear from them after that, you need to assume they don’t have the time to meet you right now. It is time to return your focus to the remaining candidates or others on your list of potential mentors. It never hurts to maintain the relationship, even if it’s one way, by sending notes or articles that may interest them once every six months or so.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” —Abraham Lincoln

2. Become a Leader at Work

To become a leader at work, you need to start by demonstrating your leadership skills. Not only will it empower you to improve your performance in your current position, but it will also contribute to your career path, your goals and the shared goals of your team. Some common leadership skills are communication, creativity, feedback, motivation and positivity.

Here are six ways to showcase your leadership skills at work.

I) Listen and Learn

Be receptive and curious to other people’s ideas and learn from their approaches.

Listening and learning from others will earn their respect and will benefit everyone on the team.

II) Do Your Best Work

Endeavouring to do your best in every situation will highlight your strong work ethic and your focus on excellence.

III) Take Responsibility

Taking responsibility for both successful outcomes and mistakes is a strong sign of leadership by being accountable for your contributions even when they lead to poor results.

IV) Strive for Authenticity

In your approach, incorporate your unique goals and vision. Using a tool like the Personal SWOT Analysis for Career Development is a great way to identify your strengths & weaknesses, as well as your core values.

Also, consider what qualities you admire most in people and craft your own authentic leadership style

V) Seek Training

Ask your supervisor about internal training or external classes. Compile a list of areas where you want to improve.

VI) Find a Role Model

First, where do you see yourself professionally 10 or 20 years from now? Finding your ideal mentor, either at work or in another industry, can help you learn critical skills and gain guidance from someone you admire professionally.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” —Confucius

3. How to Get a Promotion at Work

It all starts with your first day on the job. From day one, you will need to deliver great results. Here are a few things that will need to happen before you get a promotion.

Have a clear understanding of your boss’s expectations and strive to make him or her happy. Even be so bold as to say: “I want to hit the ground running and exceed your expectations.”

I) Asking, “What can I do?” can get your boss’s attention from the beginning.

II) Document your achievements because nobody else is tracking them. Keeping a log of your accomplishments also helps you to reflect and be aware of the work you have done. I know, nobody likes to talk about themselves. Well, at least most of us don’t, but keeping a log will help you to remember and talk about your accomplishments.

III) Take on more once you’ve proven to yourself that you are able to deliver great work. It is important to be specific by asking to work on particular tasks or projects. This shows initiative.

IV) Ask for it!  Many employees expect to be handed a promotion. Of course, there’s the possibility that you will not get promoted, but you have planted that seed in your manager’s mind. It is also possible that you will be passed over. Ask yourself or your manager, “What could I have done in order to have gotten that promotion?” Then use the feedback to make a plan to improve your performance.

“People don’t get promoted for doing their jobs really well. They get promoted by demonstrating their potential to do more.” – Tara Jaye Frank

I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Any topics you would like to see here? Type in the comments below or email me at info@joannesavoiemalone.com

If you would like guidance planning your next quarter or career development to create a life you love, I’m here to help.

email: info@joannesavoiemalone.com

text: 613-749-3210

6 thoughts on “Career Development Planning

  1. Thanks for sharing another amazing article with us. I found that  it was not only well wrtitten and informastive, but i also found it to be very interestimng and refreshing too. Sometimes, even when you know ceratin things, its still good to hear or read them again just to reinstill them in your minde

    1. Thank you and yes, refreshers are always good as you might learn something new from a different perspective.

  2. I really liked your point concerning becoming a leader at work. I wish I could share this with my co-workers, but the point I am trying to make would be to obvious. I feel that a leader must train themselves. They just can’t rely on things that come naturally. Leadership certainly requires charisma but also skill.

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