Career Growth is about progressing in employment through roles and responsibilities so that you may find job satisfaction and the challenge, workload and rewards that you seek. It is rarely static in that even if you find the ideal job you have to position yourself for changes that might occur beyond your control. This paper is written about career growth in the software sales, presales, customer success, in delivery markets but the concepts are applicable for everyone.

Every decision you have made or will make will have some impact on your career growth and potential.  That’s not to say you can’t recover from mistakes or won’t lose the value of some good decisions. Your decision-making is important and because it is you really need to have a good understanding of who you are, where you are in your career, what you desire, and what you are willing to do to get it.


Self-assessment is an important part of any career growth plan or job change effort. Give some thought to what, why and how of the direction you want to take your career.

The basic questions:

  1. What do you hope to accomplish by making a job change?
  2. What new roles are you seeking? Title(s) and / or responsibilities
  3. What are your compensation expectations and are they reasonable from the market perspective?
  4. What are your expectations for travel or relocation?
  5. What marketable skills make you valuable to a new employer and why?
  6. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?
  7. Can you demonstrate a track record of accomplishment similar in range, scope and size to the type of positions you are seeking?
  8. Can you show examples of consistent performance and being in the “top of your class” throughout your career?
  9. Can you show that you have a capacity, track record and interest in solving comparable job related problems in making decisions that is likely to face in the position?
  10. What is your career report card and what moves can you make to enhance your value in the future



Once you have completed your self assessment you can work on your brand. In fact you should always work on your brand to assure that you are always making your best effort. This doesn’t mean you need to be tweeting or blogging or giving resumes to everyone you meet but it does mean that you should be aware how others see the value you offer and look for ways to increase it.

LinkedIN and Twitter are two good social branding platforms which help you connect and communicate with the right people.Certainly your resume is a good branding tool should you get the chance to share it. But the branding that I refer to is how you PERFORM and ACT amongst your peers and public. Do they see you as someone who has the important traits of doing excellent work, are dependable, and are easy to work with? It is hard to show those kinds of traits on a resume but they are important for growth within your current and future employers.

Make sure your Resume and LinkedIN profile is well written and supports your career objectives. I believe it is worth hiring a professional to shoot professional headshots for your LinkedIN profile.

I have written an article that may be helpful to you when you consider how to present yourself in your resume.




Basic Career Development research means doing the things needed to help you understand your industry and the accomplished people in it. This is important because you can best leverage your experience and skills within a familiar domain or one that can be related to it. The lowest risk in job change is when you can do it within your current employer since both you and the new manager can better assess the fit. Changes can be made between domains but they carry higher risks and most hiring managers know this.

Whether you are considering new positions or just want to grow where you are, it is always valuable to learn more about your industry.

Some resources for doing your research would include:

  • Gartner Industry Reports
  • Forrester Reports
  • IDC Reports
  • Owler
  • other

some helpful research lists are noted at the end of this paper.



  1. Develop a list of the companies in your domain and related domains and identify contacts at the peer, superior and super superior levels.
  2. Connect with them on Linkedin.
  3. Look for opportunities to aid people and eventually that goodwill will be returned. LinkedIn is a very valuable resource for building your own professional network.  

LinkedIn is a very valuable tool for building your own professional network. A professional network that has value onto itself in providing connections and knowledge valuable throughout your career. Working a targeted list of companies and connections will help you put focus in your own career development.

But when do you ask for a job? Certainly you can shorten the relationship building process and ask flat out if the manager has any openings but most people have difficulty marketing themselves in this way and perfect timing is hard to come by.


I have been a professional recruiter since 1994 and believe that many of the most accomplished and valuable employees are willing to explore new opportunities due to company or market changes beyond their control that might effect their continued success.

The candidates I work with are in the top 15% performance bracket. What I look for is that a candidate:

  • Can demonstrate domain expertise
  • Has a record of success in achieving performance goals on a regular basis
  • Shows the ability to understand, tackle and solve problems
  • Has reasonable compensation, travel expectations
  • Commit to work with me

The companies I work with appreciate exposure to valuable candidates and pay a fee when they hire my candidates. To make a good match I have to understand the candidate and the company.  I try to make all my confidential presentations interesting, define the value of the candidate to the hiring company, and offer insight on the candidate’s performance.



  • Detailed interview of candidate
  • Request the candidate to research and identify companies they would like to explore working for and what value they might provide.
  • Reference check on the candidate
  • I make a commitment to present to specific companies
  • Candidate makes a commitment to interview
  • I prep and debrief from interviews and consult on offers will


Research Resources

PeopleStaff Research List companies and domains to consider –

List of domains described



Author: Rick Zabor

Engineer / Scientist / Researcher turned Recruiter in 1987. Interested in the best way to do things and mixing with people who have passions for life. Writes on topics important to building winning teams and personal growth and accomplishment. Connect with me on Linkedin. Lives in Atlanta, GA.