How To Identify Growth Opportunities For Your Career - Kathy Caprino

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Advice, Career Growth, Careers, LinkedIn How To Identify Growth Opportunities For Your Career Written by: Kathy Caprino

Thousands of professionals today are looking for something more, different and better in their careers and professional lives, but aren’t sure how to get it. Many want to uplevel their skills and capabilities to reach a higher level of impact and also experience greater financial reward, but feel stuck regarding the best steps to take. Others still want to pivot or change directions completely. In coaching professionals around the world, I’m observing firsthand how great numbers of people want to advance and thrive in their work, but aren’t engaging in the key initiatives that will allow that growth to occur.

What Are Top Professional Growth Opportunities And Initiatives That Can Yield High Impact For You?

The following career growth activities can make a substantial difference in your professional trajectory:

1. Building mentorship and sponsorship relationships within your organization and beyond it

2. Asking your manager for new growth challenges and opportunities within your current role

3. Volunteering in a new role outside your current job that offers new experiences and insights

4. Engaging in additional training, education or certification to advance your understanding and expand your toolbox (and asking your organization for tuition reimbursement for that training)

5. Networking with other professionals through industry associations, conferences, LinkedIn groups and other means through which you can meet professionals who can help and mentor you

6. Seeking out career growth advisors in your field for their advice and guidance

7. Creating a sound development plan with your manager and HR leader to help you secure a promotion when the time is right (and get their commitment to support you)

8. Obtaining 360 feedback to learn from your peers and those above you and below you in the company hierarchy about your current strengths and standout qualities, and ways you can grow and develop

And last but not least,

9. Interviewing regularly outside your organization, to keep your finger on the pulse of what employers need and want most and to understand your marketability/suitability for those roles

Engaging in all of these activities can transform your career and significantly boost your confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, impact, skills, and your understanding of how to communicate about—and leverage—your special talents to achieve the growth you want.

Why Do People Resist Pursuing Growth Opportunities?

One key reason people resist pursuing growth opportunities is that they are afraid — of stretching beyond where are today, of failing, of discovering what others might think of their abilities, and of asking for what they want and deserve for fear of not getting it (then not knowing how to deal with that rejection).

A shockingly high number of executive women (75%), suffer from imposter syndrome, which stems from their internal belief that they didn’t land their role because of their own talents or abilities, but instead, it was simply luck or being in the right place at the right time. For professionals who suffer from imposter syndrome and other confidence challenges, it’s even more difficult to engage in growth opportunities because they’re afraid of failing or being “found out” in terms of what they don’t know and feel they should.

A majority of these fears and insecurities stem from what my research over the past decade has revealed are the 7 most damaging power and confidence gaps that negatively impact 98% of professional women and 90% of men today, keeping them from reaching their highest and most rewarding success and potential.

Interestingly, activities in our youth can help set us up in later years to be more successful and confident — and more comfortable — embracing growth opportunities. For instance, a recent study from Deloitte found that women’s experience of playing competitive sports in their youth helped them achieve greater career and leadership success. Playing competitive sports can offer tremendous growth opportunities, allowing the chance to expand key skills such as resilience, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, managing stress and pressure, honing strategic vision, and effective communication.

How can growth opportunities lead to expansion in your career?

In a nutshell, growth opportunities lead to expansion in your specific approach to work, your understanding of and trust in yourself, your ability to connect with and lead others, and it helps you build the specific skills, talents and experiences that are essential for your success.

These growth opportunities also help you build confidence and self-efficacy by stretching you beyond where you are today, so that you are truly ready for more. Just thinking that we’re ready for a promotion or advancement can actually be quite different from being well-prepared to step up to a higher level.

Another factor in one’s career growth has to do with the different types of challenges one has faced and overcome. In coaching mid- to high-level professionals, I’ve seen that when individuals have stayed for decades at one organization, they can feel less confident than their peers, and often less familiar or comfortable with the latest advancements and developments in their fields than those who have worked for numerous different employers in varying roles. Assuming new roles at varied organizations can strengthen our capabilities and our comfort with risk and new learning, which accelerates our growth.

How can you identify the right growth opportunities for you?

To determine the right growth opportunities for you, you first need to build a deep, comprehensive understanding of where you are today and where you’d like to go in the future. As a start, spend some time thinking about every job you’ve ever held—what you loved about it, hated. the biggest accomplishments and hardest struggles, what you’d like to bring forward and continue to focus on, as well as what you never wish to do again. Take the reins on your career planning.

Where can you find help in identifying growth opportunities?

Here are several great sources of help in identifying growth opportunities:

Cultivate mentors and sponsors – both within and outside your organization. Wherever you can, reach out to individuals who are 10 steps ahead of you doing work you admire, in ways that inspire you. Reach out and ask if you might have a brief conversation to learn more about their specific career trajectory, and ask if you might get their advice and insights on some best next steps for you, given your top career goals. Make sure to include these two questions: 1) Might you have any ideas for me?, and 2) Would you know of anyone else who’d be helpful to speak with?

Be active on LinkedIn and reach out to folks whose work you find compelling, and follow their work and thought leadership for ideas about what you’d like to explore next.

Contact several top recruiters in your industry, and send them your updated resume and LinkedIn account information, for their ideas on great next steps.

Talk to your manager (if you have a good relationship with them) and share your wish to grow in the organization, and explore if they’d be supportive of creating a development plan for you, to help assist you with your future career goals.

Brainstorm and research additional training that would help you perform your role in a deeper, more comprehensive and productive way. Explore and vet ways to get that training and ask your employer if reimbursement is possible.

Explore potential new jobs through LinkedIn and other platforms to see what’s available that is compelling to you. Examine the skills and experiences these hiring managers are looking for, and find colleagues on LinkedIn who are doing that type of work that excites you. Do competitive research to understand where there may be gaps in your experience or skill set that you could close today through additional training or taking on new responsibilities.

In the end, growth opportunities abound and are often right in front of us. The key is to look for them continually, and explore them fully and bravely, to help you “try on” the best next steps and directions that will support your ultimate career success and happiness.

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Creating Your Own Career Breakthrough”

Kathy Caprino is a career and leadership coach, author, podcast host of Finding Brave, and speaker/trainer on building confidence and impact.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.