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Different Types of Career Development & Advancement Options

Job advancement is what most employees expect and want throughout their careers. However, the level one person wants to advance to might look very different from what their coworkers want. For example, you might have goals of moving up the ladder to become a director of your organization one day. In contrast, someone else might be happy staying in a technical role for their entire career or becoming a specialized senior-level executive instead of a mid-level manager.

Table of Contents
What Career Path Options Are Available?
How to Talk to a Potential Employer About Career Development Opportunities
How to Talk to Your Boss About Career Advancement
What if the Career Development Conversation Doesn’t Go Well?

What Career Path Options Are Available?

Fortunately, today’s best practices concerning career development have shifted, so you don’t have to be a manager to “move up” the ladder. Of course, it’s also true that you can advance your career without moving up a ladder at all.

Here are some common career path options that most companies offer.

Different career path options on a road.

Dual Career Path

The dual career path is when a company offers two ways to advance in the organization. These two ways are:

  1. The management ladder. On this career path, employees are groomed at the individual contributor role level to move into more senior-level roles and then into the management track. The management track often includes a path with levels like team lead, supervisor, manager, director, and executive.
  1. The technical ladder. This path lets employees advance in their roles without having to move into supervisory positions. It’s perfect for those who still want to advance but aren’t interested in managing. Examples of levels on this path might include individual contributor, junior, and senior levels, or any variation of title progression that indicates moving up and being promoted within the company.

Horizontal Career Path

A horizontal career path allows employees to rotate from one department to another, gaining a wide array of knowledge and developing a well-rounded skill set. Some companies offer job rotations to entry-level employees to give them experience in different roles to determine where they best fit. Job rotations are also often common in companies that want employees to gain a diverse knowledge set prior to moving into leadership roles.

Scaled-Back Career Path

This might be considered the opposite of career advancement, though it is a viable career option for many. A scaled-back career path is when an individual decides they want to go down the ladder instead of climbing it. In other words, they might be looking for a position with less responsibility or that might be slower-paced. It’s also an option for those who want to take a step back to consider their career development options so they can gain clarity about the path they truly want to be on for the remainder of their career.

How to Talk to a Potential Employer About Career Development Opportunities

Ideally, advancement in one’s career at a specific organization will be discussed and clarified before being hired. Some career advancement questions to ask a potential employer include:

  • Do you offer a career development road map?
  • Does each employee receive a career development plan?
  • How long do employees typically stay in a position?
  • What career paths do you offer?
  • How frequently are career development plans discussed and assessed?
  • How often do promotions and raises occur? Is there a set schedule within the organization for these activities?

If the answers don’t align with your expectations or needs, then you might want to continue your job search.

How to Talk to Your Boss About Career Advancement

For those currently employed and ready to advance to the next level of their careers, it’s time to have a discussion with their supervisor. If you’re interested in a management track, you’ll want to be sure to communicate that and ask what steps are required for you to get there. A similar conversation should occur if you’re wanting to advance to a more senior level but aren’t interested in management.

Points that need to be discussed include:

  • Requirements for advancement to the next level
  • Possible timing of your next promotion
  • How to advance to future levels more quickly if you desire to do so

What if the Career Development Conversation Doesn’t Go Well?

If a conversation with your manager doesn’t yield the results you want, you still have options. You can begin to research other companies where you can better reach your goals, for example. Another option is to find a recruiting firm that can support your career advancement goals.

Advantis Global can help in several ways when it comes to your job search and career advancement. Our team can help you find a new position in a different industry — one that offers better pay and can potentially be a career advancement or a more senior position if that’s what your goal is.

You can also submit your resume or apply for a job on our website to get connected with one of our expert recruiters. We recruit in many different industries, including creative, marketing, gaming, tech, IT, development, government, and cybersecurity. So, if you’re ready for a change and advancement, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

Man stacking wooden blocks on a white table.
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