Welcome to your Career Progression Plan of Attack

On our social media pages yesterday, we linked to an interview the New York Times did with Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal. In the interview, Schulman makes a great point about career progression, saying: “There’s a philosophy in martial arts which is, “Never stand still.” Standing still is asking to be hit. You always have to be willing to take some risks going forward”.

So today, let’s talk about career progression: Why it’s important, and how to do it the right way.

In the first instance, it’s vitally important to explore what you want from your career. Whether it be satisfaction, financial or meeting long-term goals, clarity will aid in determining your strategy to enable kind of future you want. This enables you to chart a course – planning is important for career progression. Of course, keeping your Curriculum Vitae up to date accordingly is vital.

This takes us to understanding yourself. What are your passions? How about your professional skills, your strengths and weaknesses? (Just as important, what are your strengths and weaknesses as perceived by others?) Successful career progression depends on you being honest about your abilities and realistic about your proficiencies. Now that you’ve determined those, seek out ways to improve yourself. Are there courses to take, new skills to acquire?

After you have focused on yourself, you should now home in on the companies you aspire to work for. Doing your research is an important part of planning for career progression – so make sure are au fait with company culture. That’s where social media is your great ally. Following their accounts will give you a great overview of a potential employer. Are there potential mentors (a sensei?) at these companies whom you can follow on social media for additional inspiration?

While you are looking ahead to new opportunities, it’s crucial that you don’t neglect your current position. Your ideal employer may well be the one where you are working at present – and if you’re looking towards career progression via a promotion, you should ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Where can you add value, do extra, perform some heavy lifting? If you are planning a move to a different company, a stellar referral from a current employer will look great in your arsenal.

When it comes to career progression, it’s important to never settle. Just like a martial arts practitioner, always look for a new opening, a new opportunity to step forward. Have a plan for attack. Remember that Human Communications is South Africa’s foremost recruitment advertiser, so when you’ve made your decisions, have a look at our job ads to see if your ideal company has any vacancies. Osu!