6 Tips for Building a Successful Career Path

All of us are eager to build a successful career path so that we get a happy and secure life. Career path planning should start at a very early stage, from your schooling, so that you can carefully choose the path and build your career.

On the other hand, a few of us find our passion only during the middle of our careers and plan for a career switch. Let us analyze the complete guidelines for building a successful career path.

Most of you might have set your goal before entering graduation. While you are busy with assignments, seminars, assessments, and semesters, you should also focus on extracurricular activities and preparation for placement.

You can make friends, via LinkedIn, who are already working for the domain you want to get into and get guidance from them. They may suggest the most useful online courses which would land you in your dream job.

Writing a good resume, building a portfolio, and impressing the recruiters with your interpersonal skills will get you placed. Your professional journey begins from here. You need to work smart for getting promotions, salary increments, career progress, and so on.

Career Path Framework


A clear career path framework and regular self-evaluation of performance are necessary for achieving your goal. A career path framework is nothing but a structured plan.

Structured plan, upgrading skills and evaluation of performance are the essential elements of career path framework.

I suggest you follow the below tips to build a successful career path:
  1. preparing a career path chart,
  2. developing performance metrics,
  3. planning for promotion and salary increment,
  4. rethinking your plans,
  5. gaining the support of your colleagues, and
  6. consulting peers/superiors.
Let us analyze the tips in detail.

Preparing a career path chart


Setting the long and short-term goals is the first step in creating a career path chart. The long-term goal is something you may achieve after a decade or so. The short-term goals should focus on long-term goals and help you move towards success.

The short-term goals include the development of skills, pursuing a diploma, completing certificate courses, taking license as necessary, improving your grades for next promotion, developing a rapport with peers, gaining authority, showing quantifiable results, etc.

You need to scrutinize short-term goals often and update them as necessary. Writing your long and short-term goals in paper or chart and sticking it on the wall would help in achieving more.

Developing a career path chart bound by the time-line will be of more help. Achieving your goal is easier when you understand your strengths and weakness.

In a real-life scenario, every job involves many processes. Based on the requirement, you may get a slightly different task for quite a long time that would greatly influence your career path and goal. You need to focus on what you want to become and do not deviate from your plan.

Setting the long and short-term goals is the first step in creating a career path chart. The long-term goal is something you may achieve after a decade or so. The short-term goals should focus on long-term goals and help you move towards success.

Developing performance metrics


Self-evaluation would help you to improve and save you from receiving negative feedback. You may also seek regular feedback from the reviewer and focus on the area where you have to improve.

Always setting your quality standards at a high level would help you to gain trust and credibility. Your trustworthiness will increase the chances of getting a promotion and salary raise.

In case your manager proposes your name for a challenging project, you can stay assured that you have already built strong credibility.

Planning for promotion and salary increment


Getting promotions and salary increments are a crucial part of your career. A prompt raise assures that you are doing well and moving on the track to achieve the goal.

Promotion


You can request your manager or reviewer to provide the KRA (key responsibility area) of the next career level that you are aiming to reach. I suggest you perform well in your present role and gradually improve your skills to take-up the next level of work.

Companies award promotions to employees based on their policies and metrics. You must understand how your company evaluates employee performance and work accordingly.

Salary raise


You need to know when, how, and what to negotiate while you appear for the performance appraisal meeting.

The best idea is to maintain a record of everything you have done from day 1. You should have a track of all the feedback and suggestions received and the corresponding changes you have implemented.

Make sure you present quantifiable results on the reviewer’s desk. Talk to your mentor in terms of numbers. Also, make sure you estimate the market status. Expecting a good salary raise during the recession doesn't make sense.

You may also read through the blog ‘Best tips for salary negotiation’ to get an idea of salary negotiation techniques.

Rethinking your plans often


Even after following all the steps you have mentioned in the career path chart, at times, you may not see considerable progress. Why are you not progressing as planned? The reason is that a few of your ideas didn’t provide the expected result.

I suggest you closely watch those plans that fail to give the expected result and make necessary changes.

Let me explain this using a scenario. Considering the opportunity for growth, you might have planned to work for a company for the next few years. However, the company might have moved you to a different team or have dropped a client and shut a particular process. Such changes might affect your plans.

In this case, you may have to reconsider your plans. You can have a word with your reporting authority about the changes. Changing your plans without affecting the final destination would be good.

Gaining the support of colleagues


A team that has a supportive environment produces comparatively better results. The easiest way to gain colleagues’ support is by giving them support. There is no harm in initiating a culture that you expect from your colleagues.

If you notice someone doing a great job, you can appreciate the person. I have seen companies choosing a well-know / friendly person for promotion.

Consulting peers/superiors


If you find any of your peers/superiors helpful, you may share your ideas with them and get their guidance. In case you are new to a company, you can identify the right person to check on the work culture and scope for development.

A few managers are smart enough to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. These managers assign work according to the individual’s skill set and reduce the attrition rate. If your manager is such a person, you can surely consult your manager and get guidance.

Career Path Development Plan


Employers maintain a career path development plan for every employee. However, you need to check the progress of your career. 

When you have a meeting with your manager, make sure you understand your manager's plans for your career development. While doing so, if you can also explain your plans and make sure you and your manager agree with your career development plan for the coming year or quarter.  

Always fix the time-frame for all your goals. You may need additional training to achieve your goals. So make sure you regularly check all the available resources and find the one that suits your requirements. 

You need to start implementing the knowledge that you gained from the courses and evaluate the impact of training in your work. You can also request your manager and mentor to give feedback on your performance. 

Conclusion


All that you should have is a clear career path chart that drives you to success. You may reconsider the ideas often and make necessary changes. Make sure to consult your mentors whenever possible. Following your plan would help you to improve exponentially and achieve success quickly.

Growing an influential professional network is a vital part of building a successful career path. Giving reference to reliable experts for suitable positions would establish a substantial reputation. You can read through the article 'Reference Letters - The Complete Guide' to understand endorsement strategies. 
KnowledgeHub & CareerBuilder
The rule 80-20 influences almost all the processes around the globe. '20% KnowledgeHub & CareerBuilder' focuses on the 20% of effort, which produces 80% of the result. We equip you to build a career and achieve your goals. Psychology and emotional intelligence play a vital role in career progression. Expect more articles on these topics and enjoy reading!

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