Take Charge of Your Career Progression

by Sara Canaday

As I travel to different cities speaking to various business groups, I am consistently seeing a common problem. While companies fully recognize that reaching their goals and being successful is dependent on developing their employees, the vast majority of them struggle to make that a priority. They simply don’t have the time, energy and budget required to grow and develop their own people.

Many times these organizations make well-intentioned and valiant attempts to offer professional development, but their efforts are often watered down to a non-customized “training in a box” with little or no emphasis on the specific needs related to a particular job or industry. To make matters worse, the training that is available only filters down to a select few.

So what does this trend mean for professionals at every level who aspire to increase their professional skills and take on more responsibility? In short, it’s a bold reminder for all of us to take ownership of our own career progressions. Seek out tools that can boost your job performance. Take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow through conferences and on-line training via companies like Lynda.com. Build your network, and take deliberate steps to communicate your value more effectively. We can’t wait for employers to shepherd us through some type of formal training program. It’s all up to us.

The good news is, some companies do offer resources to employees who are willing to take the initiative on their own.

  • Ask whether your company offers self-development courses or will supplement enrollment fees for those who participate in independent training.
  • Seek honest performance and behavioral feedback from your workplace team, whether that means having informal discussions or using one of the online survey tools that can gather detailed data about your business impact.
  • Find out if you have options to broaden the spectrum of your role and/or to diversify your skill set. If your company has started an enterprise-wide career path initiative, this may provide you with additional alternatives for growth.
  • Proactively nurture and cultivate key business relationships, and pay keen attention to how you connect people and information. Doing so will provide you with a robust and productive network of professionals who can offer you career guidance and advice.

Whether you have development choices in-house or not, the point is to find them and take advantage of them. Don’t wait. Take charge of your own personal growth. When you drive your own professional development, you’ll be in the best position long-term to maximize your potential and accelerate your career.

summit-graphic-v2Catch Sara and other spectacular speakers at IAAP Summit 2018 in Austin, Texas. Find out why IAAP Summit is the go-to conference for office and administrative professionals year-in and year-out. Hurry, early bird pricing ends in January.


Keynote speaker and author, Sara Canaday works with clients to help them accelerate their careers and enhance their leadership impact. Sara is the author of the business book, “You–According To Them: Uncovering the blind spots that impact your reputation and your career. You can connect with Sara on Twitter @saracanaday.

One thought on “Take Charge of Your Career Progression

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s