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How To Build a Skills Development Roadmap - Planning Your Career Growth in 4 Key Steps

Feb 26, 2024
How To Build a Skills Development Roadmap - Planning Your Career Growth in 4 Key Steps

If you’re reading this, you’re probably at a stage in your career where you want more. Maybe you feel dissatisfied in your current role, or maybe you’re just not sure where to start when it comes to skills development. 

It’s important to recognise that unless you’re in an organisation where there are robust and pre-made career paths, you will most likely have to take your career growth into your own hands. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. It’s pretty common for career growth to be your responsibility, not just your employer.

We will give you the 4 key steps on how to build a skills development roadmap and plan your career growth.

Step 1: Consider your timeline

The first thing you need to look at is the timeline that you intend to stay with an organisation. If this is your first or second job, it’s completely normal to feel as though there is an “end date” with a company. No one is expecting you to spend the rest of your life with one company if you’ve just finished university, nor is it common. 

So, with your timeline, you want to assess what you want to achieve within the timeline you’ve set yourself. This could be 2 years or it could be 5 - however, if it’s the latter, trying to plan 5 years in advance may not be possible. Instead, we recommend looking at your career in 18-month chunks. What do you want to achieve within that time frame? Assess that first!

Step 2: Meet with your manager and present your plan

It’s important to ensure that you’re meeting with your manager regularly so you can discuss your progression plan and also check that your aspirations are in line with what the company can offer you. 

Your manager should also be able to give you realistic timelines and milestones that you need to reach. Depending on your role, you may also be given targets (if you’re in a sales role) that you need to hit before progressing to the next step. Finally, review your salary on a yearly basis.

We highly recommend presenting your career growth plan formally, in a clear presentation. Not only will this demonstrate that you’re taking your career growth seriously, but it can also provide a visual aid for what is going on in your mind. You want to ensure that your manager has a comprehensive understanding of what you want, and producing a presentation will give you clear discussion points to putting things into practice.

Step 3: Engage in self-development

Beyond what you’ve been given at work, what else can you be doing to achieve your goals? In your role, it may not be possible for you to achieve everything that you want during work hours. For example, you may want to upskill on a particular program, or you may want to develop your knowledge of the industry you’re in. What personal learning can you look at to accelerate your career growth and ultimately make the most of your timeline?

A great starting point for self-development is through reading. Not only is this accessible (Audiobooks, sectioned into podcasts, physical books, Kindle) but it can also be a cost-effective way to invest in yourself. It’s completely normal not to have the budget to go on extensive courses or conferences, especially if your employer can’t pay for these. However, it’s always worth an ask!

Step 4: Push for promotions

Once you’re regularly hitting milestones agreed with your manager, you should aim for these milestones to also come with promotions. Now, aim for one promotion per year - trying to get promoted every 6 months isn’t achievable and is also unrealistic long-term. If your promotions take 18 months, that’s OK too! Just ensure that your promotions roadmap is just as defined as your skill development roadmap. 

TIP: Avoid making these 5 key mistakes when asking for a promotion:

  • Mistake #1 – Not Consistently Promoting Your Achievements

  • Mistake #2 – Waiting To Be Recognized

  • Mistake #3 – Not Being Prepared with a Compelling Case

  • Mistake #4 – Not Practicing “The Ask”

  • Mistake #5 – Asking By Email

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