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Career Growth: What It Is and Why It Matters

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Published by Vaishnavi Desai on 24 November 2023

Learn what is career growth and why is it important in this comprehensive guide. Also, learn 7 strategies for effective career growth for advancing your career to the next level.

career goal

In a Nutshell

Using career growth as a lens to explore the impact of personal and professional growth, we examine the intricacies of career growth in personal and professional life. The guide provides actionable insights into transformative career development, including the stages of career progression, and the importance of adaptability, communication, and continuous learning.


Ever wondered what separates career climbers from the crowd? Well, it's not just luck – it's the magic of career growth.

But what exactly is career growth? It's not just about job titles; it's the power to evolve, learn, and conquer new heights. Think taking on challenging projects, leading teams, nabbing promotions — the whole shebang.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through what career growth means, what it takes to create an ideal career growth roadmap, various types of career growth, and the importance of overall career development.

Ready to turn your career dreams into a lifelong success? Read on!

What Is Career Growth?

Career growth occurs when an individual develops their skills, knowledge, and experience over time to progress in their current roles and overall career.

Career growth and development usually refers to the individual steps taken to reach their long-term goals. This might include:

  • Taking on new projects,
  • Leading a team,
  • Earning a promotion,
  • Completing training programs, or
  • Advancing to a leadership position.

Career growth doesn't necessarily take place just inside the organization — it also impacts your personal life — your financial acumen, your vast skill-sets, and your interpersonal relations.

Stages of Career Growth

Throughout the process of one’s career growth, an individual usually goes through six phases, though not all of them are vertical. Some may progress in the same job and career, while some may progress outside their organization.

Stage 1: Follower Early in their career, most likely to be a newly graduate Unaware of their skills and how they can utilize them
Stage 2: Collaborator Excellent at cooperating with a team Helps the team and own self to grow and achieve goals
Stage 3: Instructor Taps and dives deep into people’s skills and strengths Knows what needs to be done and how
Stage 4: Manager Managers are a true ‘people leader’ Leads a large team to work towards a common goal
Stage 5: Influencer Upgrades oneself from managing people to influencing them Influencers have a ‘big picture vision’
Stage 6: Leader Empower & inspire other managers and teams Serves as a role model to the organization as a whole

5 Reasons Why Career Growth Is Crucial

Advancing in your career not only builds stronger work connections but also enhances your overall job fulfilment. As you forge deeper relationships, possibilities for fresh career avenues may arise outside your usual academic or professional network.

Boosting your career instils a sense of confidence. Fostering a growth mindset not only shapes your habits but also extends its positive impact on your personal life.

Discover five key reasons highlighting the significance of career growth for your success:

  1. A Sense of Fulfilment or Purpose

    When you are offered career growth and career progression opportunities, it helps you feel you’re growing both ways; personally and professionally. This, in turn, helps you with a sense of fulfilment and a sense of purpose, which fosters loyalty as well.

  2. Heightened Sense of Well-Being

    As many of you may already know, actively working towards your goals and expanding your skillsets helps you feel more content and at peace. Career growth planning also helps you explore your innate passions and that leads you to increased happiness.

  3. Improved Work or Academic Performance

    Having a wider set of skills allows you to do your job better — whether you’re a student or a Working Professionals . When given the right opportunity, you may feel more confident and loyal to your passions. This helps boost productivity as well, among employees.

  4. Advanced Performance Satisfaction

    When you feel you’re on the right track in your career, you automatically feel better about the efforts being put in. Whether you just got a new promotion or additional responsibilities at work, these accomplishments can help you continue to pursue the next step in your career.

  5. Cultivating a Growth Mindset

    Strategic career growth serves as the blueprint for cultivating effectiveness, providing a structured path for skill acquisition and experience accumulation. A thoughtfully developed career path results in increased proficiency and success.

7 Tips and Strategies for Effective Career Growth

Career growth thrives on clear, realistic goals that drive progress in your profession. Understanding and implementing career development strategies can significantly benefit professionals in any field. Find out 7 practical tips for career growth below:

  1. Establish Clear Career Objectives

    Craft well-defined career goals, and break them into achievable milestones. Avoid the common mistake of vague objectives or goals that may seem unattainable at the beginning.

    Develop a detailed, process-oriented career growth plan by envisioning your future role in your dream field. A robust career development strategy allows for better career planning, professional growth and seamless role transitions.

  2. Cultivate Guidance Through Mentorship

    Having a mentor can help you gain the skills and connections you need to continue on your career journey. Identify a mentor whose qualities align with your aspirations.

    Seek recommendations from trusted peers and colleagues. A mentor provides valuable insights, professional advice, and a fresh perspective. This relationship is pivotal for motivation and goal achievement, offering guidance in both personal and professional aspects.

  3. Gain Strength Through Skill Development

    Focused skill improvement is the key to advancing in your chosen field. As per a recent study, companies that invested in employee growth saw a 58% increase in retention.

    Turn your weaknesses into strengths by enhancing relevant skills through education and online resources. Consider formal training to achieve your vision of career growth. All these factors will help you gain a competitive edge in your overall career growth.

  4. Forge a Robust Support Group or Community

    The climb to the top of your career may present its own challenges, but having a support group or community support can help make it easier.

    Cultivating a support group for navigating career challenges can come in handy during the transition period. Beyond mentorship, draw strength from friends and family. This network offers emotional support and makes the journey toward career goals more manageable.

  5. Strategic Networking Beyond Boundaries

    Diverse social capital is crucial for mutual benefits and access to various opportunities. Expand your professional network beyond your industry.

    Attend conferences, join online forums, and organize casual meet-ups. Networking extends beyond existing circles to explore connections in different fields, especially if you’re pivoting your career to an entirely new sphere.

  6. Get In-Depth Career Insights Through Job Shadowing

    Job shadowing is a type of on-the-job training that allows an interested employee to follow and closely observe another employee performing the role.

    First, understand your desired role and assess your skills. Then, ask insightful questions about the job, industry changes, recommended training, and key characteristics for success while shadowing another employee for your dream role.

    SMC Expert Tip:

    Here’s how you can make the most out of job shadowing by asking these questions:

    • What’s your favorite part while doing this job? What gets you going?
    • In the next 3 to 5 years, what changes do you see in this industry?
    • What kind of training would you recommend for me to land a job like this?
    • What skills and characteristics should a person have to succeed in this role?
  7. Steer Your Progress With Performance Tracking

    Regularly track accomplishments to stay motivated and address frustrations. Utilize performance reviews to discuss professional growth goals with your manager.

    This ensures alignment with expectations and provides a clear path for sustained career success. Keeping a record of progress is essential for maintaining momentum in your career journey. This also helps voice your views during career discussions as well.

How Can You Evaluate Your Career Growth?

Developing and cultivating different abilities can often lead to career growth by understanding the difference between your skills now and your skills in the past. Here are three crucial abilities that can significantly contribute to advancing in your career:

  • Adaptability

    The ability to embrace change, acquire new skills, and adjust to evolving situations is indispensable in any career. Being adaptable enables you to excel in diverse environments and effectively navigate uncertainties.

  • Communication

    Essential for conveying ideas, collaborating with colleagues, and influencing others, strong communication skills—both verbal and written—promote improved relationships, teamwork, and understanding within a professional context.

  • Continuous Learning

    In an ever-evolving world, dedicating oneself to continuous learning and self-improvement is paramount. This involves staying abreast of industry trends, acquiring fresh knowledge and skills, and welcoming feedback for ongoing personal and professional development.

These skills — when perfected and applied effectively — can significantly contribute to personal and professional advancement in your dream career.

End Notes

Comfort is the opposite of growth, and once you move out of your comfort zone, you automatically start progressing in life. This stands true for professional career growth as well. Career growth may come in different sizes and shapes, but remember, no one can take your skills and strengths to the next level but you. So, chart out a game plan as soon as possible!

If you find yourself stuck at a career crossroads, check out SetMyCareer’s career counselling plans and take the first step towards lifelong success.

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