We all have goals we want to achieve, particularly when it comes to our careers. Whether we’re looking for a promotion or want to complete a degree to get further ahead, every professional has ambitions they want to work towards to enhance their career.
Career growth doesn’t happen overnight, but is a long-term commitment. But where do you even start and why is career growth important? There are many ways to achieve career growth and throughout this article, we will be discussing why career growth is essential in the working world and how finding a mentor can help you prosper.
The Difference Between Career Development and Career Growth
Career development and career growth are two popular terms we’ve come across in our careers, but is there a difference? Whilst both career development and career growth ultimately work towards a similar goal, which is self-improvement, there are a few differences that separate them from each other. It should be noted that you shouldn’t just pick one, as they go hand-in-hand with one another.
One of the most noticeable differences between the two is the focus each process has. Career growth is centered around the long-term goals you set, such as gaining a promotion, increasing your salary or moving to a new organization. In comparison, career development concentrates on the short-term goals you set to help you accomplish the holistic goal that will help you grow within your career, for example taking a course to learn new technology.
Career growth and career development as mentioned take place over different time frames, with career growth taking longer to achieve than development to meet your ultimate professional goal. Career development could take place over a few months, whereas career growth may take 5-10 years (or more) to get where you want to be.
Career growth is viewed as a result of strategy, requiring more planning and strategic moves to reach your purpose, including ongoing improvement and advances to become more prosperous within your role.
Why Is Career Growth Important?
There are many various reasons why career development and career growth are incredibly significant to both your personal and professional life, and that’s why it’s important to desire them within your career. When it comes to growing in your career, many vital benefits can be noted, here are the 3 most significant advantages:
- Career growth leads to an increase in salary, something that many professionals are looking to achieve. A salary increase is the main goal for many professionals due to the power and benefits of financial freedom.
- It enables you to become the best version of yourself, reaching your full professional potential. Career growth is all about meeting your goals, and to do that you can’t stay in the same mindset all your life. It moves you towards success, providing possibilities to evolve and try new things.
- Job satisfaction is something that comes with career growth, and something we should all aim for during our career journey. When you can reach your full potential, whilst growing in a career you love, you’ll feel a huge self of achievement because you know you worked hard to get where you are. This feeling of achievement and the development that comes with career growth will leave you feeling more satisfied within the workplace.
How Mentoring Can Help
Mentoring relationships are incredibly beneficial for professional and personal growth and if you don’t know what mentoring is, simply put, it is a relationship between two individuals to help achieve specific goals. The ‘mentor’ is typically a more experienced professional, looking to support and guide their ‘mentee’ through their career, sharing their experience and wisdom to help the mentee reach their objectives.
Mentors act as role models, often having been in the same position as the mentee before. These types of relationships are typically formed by two professionals within the same industry or career, although these relationships can also be formed through organizational mentoring programs.
Finding a mentor is very advantageous for career growth, some astonishing benefits include:
1. Evaluating Your Current Position
The most important step of career growth is reviewing the current position you find yourself within your career. A mentor helps evaluate the circumstances because they can supply an outside perspective, and help you understand, for example, what qualifications and skills you need to get further in your career. Mentors help their mentees gain a deeper understanding of their careers and can provide honest feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the mentee. This provides the opportunity for you to get a step ahead in meeting and setting your career goals, as you can truly understand where you need to improve to drive growth.
2. Mentors Help You Network
Networking is typically overlooked in people’s careers journey, but is easily one of the most effective methods to grow within a career. Networking is a great way to connect with other professionals, helping you not only gain a deeper insight into your industry, but also gain new skills at the same time. The role of a good mentor is to help their mentee network by introducing them to the people they know, due to mentors being more experienced and senior professionals who have grown a large network over the years. Whatever industry you’re in, networking with others is important as it provides you with future opportunities to help grow within your career. Whilst your mentor is there to help advise you on the best networking practices, here are some more suggestions on how you can effectively network.
3. They Help Plan
Career growth is all about strategically putting a plan together, to get where you want to be and meet your professional goals. Having a plan in place keeps you focused, motivated and gives you something to work towards, allowing you to calculate your next career moves. Mentors have been there, had the t-shirt, and know a thing or two about progressing in their careers. Mentors help their mentees put a plan in place, so they can set goals, effectively measure outcomes and fully understand what they need to do to become the professionals they wish to be.
4. Goal Setting
Once you have a deeper understanding of your overall situation and have a plan in place, it’s important to set goals. Setting goals in career growth allows you to efficiently measure where you are, where you want to be and if you were able to achieve your proposed goals. Mentors are a great sounding board, which makes setting goals an easier process. A good mentor listens to your concerns, wants and needs to help you decide what goals are best to achieve the growth you’ve been looking for. Whether you want to earn double your salary or want to be promoted to the CEO of your organization, setting goals is an indispensable step in the strategy.
If you’re wanting to advance in your career, you need to defeat your competitors and stay ahead of the game. A good way to do this is by improving your skill set. If your mentor is in the position you’re looking to have in the future, then they know the exact skills you need to get there and lucky for you, they’re there to help you. Upskilling is an important part of a thriving career, and if you’re able to showcase your ability to not only enhance yourself but also perform better than your competition, then there’s no doubt you’ll be able to fulfill your objectives.
Career growth isn’t always easy, but something that will be a long-term investment in your life, you just need to make sure you’re fully committed to working hard. Remember, career development and career growth go hand and if you want to be prosperous, you need to ensure you prioritize both. With the help of a mentor, career growth becomes easier to reach and whilst it’s still not a simple task, it’s worth it in the end.
If you’re still looking for ways to future-proof your career, here are some more tips you can follow!
Jessie Thorrington is Content Marketing Manager at PushFar, the world’s leading mentoring and career progression platform. She is passionate about helping individuals with personal and professional development.