Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Create a Career Path (When Your Job Doesn’t Have One)

It seems that as soon as you’ve managed to land a job, it’s time to start thinking about moving on to a bigger and better one. Sometimes your workplace will have a clearly defined path to an executive position— assistant to associate to senior. However, with roles constantly being added and subtracted in this changing workforce, your path might not be so clearly defined. Here are some tips for making your own career path in your company, and some guidelines for deciding whether you really want to do so.

Know what’s normal for your company
First, ask your coworkers about the normal career progression for people at your company. Some companies fully expect an entry-level person to stay for a year or two, and then leave for a better position elsewhere. If this is the case, consider the wisdom of following that pattern. Experience at multiple companies is valuable, as long as it isn’t too sporadic and doesn’t make you look like a job hopper. By leaving the company for a few years to gain experience elsewhere, you might be placing yourself in a better position to be a good hire down the road. That is, if you still want to go back at that time.

If you still really want to climb the ladder in your current company…

Look for things that could be done better
The key to creating a new position is proving that several things aren’t being done as well as they could be. Start making a list of things that you see falling through the cracks. Furthermore, use your friendships with coworkers to talk about the things they see falling through the cracks, as Forbes suggests. Networking is important in this process. By acting as a problem-solver or the go-to person for your coworkers, you can not only gain information for the position you want to create, but also put yourself in a great social position for a management role. The questions you ask will also show that you like to take initiative, which is a great quality for someone about to ask for a promotion.

Create a job description
Start synthesizing the items on your list into a cohesive job description. The idea is, of course, to match your strengths as closely as possible with the responsibilities of the job you are creating. Write up a report detailing the job description, why the new role would be a great asset to the company (nay, necessary for its survival!), and why you would be a natural choice for the job.

Talk to someone about it!
Consider carefully the best person to approach about your proposal. Your boss might be a good choice, if you think he or she would be a good ally in talking to the other necessary folks. Otherwise, consider talking to someone in human resources or possibly a department that you might want to liaise with. Practice your presentation, and above all, don’t sell yourself short! Good luck!

Have you ever created (or wanted to create) a career path at your workplace? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by ^riza^

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.

Add comment