Recent studies have found that as many as two out of every three employees feel stuck in their current roles because they do not have clear opportunities to grow and develop in their careers. With the unfortunate state of the economy, most organization are operating very lean and managers just do not have the time to invest in helping their teams grow and develop.
So, if you are searching for opportunities to grow and develop professionally, what resources are available to you?
A mentor can be significant asset in developing your career. You will want to seek out a mentor who has a career path that mirrors your ideal career path. Typically, your mentor will be at least 2-3 levels or promotions ahead of you in that career path. Their insight into how they achieved success, in terms of the skills they acquired, the networks they joined and the lessons they learned, can be hugely beneficial in your career journey.
You may want to consider seeking out a sponsor within your organization. Typically this is someone several levels above you in the organizational hierarchy, who will advocate for you and your career when opportunities arise. A sponsor will likely spend far less time with you than a mentor, so you should be even more respectful of the time you spend with this individual and be sure to say thank you for their support of your career.
Third, or individuals who struggle to find an industry, career path or role-specific mentor, it may also be valuable to consult with a professional career coach. Because career coaches provide career advisement as their full-time job, you are likely to find engagements are more directed and you achieve results more quickly.
If you have had difficulty to find an ideal mentor and cannot afford a traditional career coach, you may want to consider local career centers that can provide guidance for you at little to no cost. Typically services will range from career exploration to resume preparation to interviewing practice.
Alumni Associations are another valuable and underutilized career resource. Your alumni association makes career services available to you to ensure your continued success long after graduation. Services will range from mass career services like seminars and networking sessions to individualized sessions with a career counselor. If you are not already actively involved in your alumni association, there is no better time!
At the end of the day, even if you feel stuck in your career development in your current role, there are a wealth of career development resources that are available to you. The most critical advice I can give you is to just take one step that moves you closer to your goal. Do it. Right now!