A step-by-step guide to creating a career development plan + infographic
Jasmine Gill, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives at American Express, spoke on the importance of taking ownership of your career growth at Contentsquare’s latest CX Circle event.
Having felt like she had a slow start to her own career journey (with plenty of ambiguous, unhelpful feedback along the way), Jasmine shared one piece of advice for other women looking to kick start their careers: take ownership and create a career development plan.
In the early stages of her career, Jasmine admits feeling lost. ‘I felt like everyone knew the rules of how to get promoted and how to get internal sponsorship,’ she explains. ‘But I didn’t have a clear path I wanted to take, and no one was helping me understand or start thinking about how to build a career that’s meaningful to me.’
Jasmine realized early on that creating her path was her responsibility because no one was going to do it for her. ‘Taking ownership of my own development was so critical,’ she says, and so she began practicing active career management.
The importance of mindful career management
In today’s working world, it’s common to be busy. Your job might tie you down to hours of meetings each week, tight deadlines, and a to-do list as long as your arm. But this can come at a cost.
‘It’s so easy to keep doing your job without asking yourself what you’re learning and how you’re growing, especially when you have such a huge workload and very little downtime,’ says Jasmine. ‘But if you’re not growing, you’re staying where you are.’
Jasmine’s advice? Practice mindful career management by creating a career development plan. Instead of going through the motions every day with no end goal, a career development plan gives you space to carve out what matters to you and where you want to go. It also helps you define the steps you need to take to get there.
A career development plan is all about helping you grow your career in the most meaningful way.
As you begin to define your career plan, it’s important to remember that ‘growing’ doesn’t always mean a promotion or a pay rise.
In fact for Jasmine, career growth simply means movement – and that’s not always up or out. Instead, it could be creating enough space to work on your passion projects or ensuring you run more efficient meetings.
Being intentional and mindful about your career growth helps you become more self-aware.
And this helps you create a working environment in which you remain energized, happy, and motivated.
For example, if you’re freelance, a career development plan might help you focus on projects you’re passionate about rather than saying yes to everything. By defining what career you want to create, you can start saying no to projects in areas that don’t fulfill you, and instead spend that time seeking out clients in the areas that do. This will help to create a greater sense of purpose in your work and you’ll enjoy yourself more.
If you work in-house, a mindful career development plan might help you realize you’re spending way too much time working and it’s burning you out. It will help you set time boundaries for a healthier work-life balance to ensure you spend more time with your family and friends. Your goal could be as simple as committing to taking a one-hour lunch break every day or not emailing on weekends.
While being more mindful about your career doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a promotion, it’ll help you grow in other ways that contribute to your overall happiness, purpose, and productivity. And this will make you a happier, harder working, and more motivated employee – and that’s a prime candidate for progression!
How to create a career development plan
In her CX Circle session, Jasmine took us through the five stages of creating a career development plan that sticks.
Here’s a handy, downloadable infographic on what was covered: