Career Planning: the Missing Link Between Growth, Leadership & Success

Career Planning; The Missing Link Between Career Growth, Leadership and Success.

As a career and leadership coach, clients come to me because they're stuck in their career.

By stuck, I mean, they want to take the next step in their career, but they're being held back by any combination of the following factors:

  • They’re struggling to stand out,
  • They’re continually rejected,
  • They waffle in interviews,
  • They don't know how to talk to recruiters.

Those looking for a promotion are repeatedly bypassed and they struggle to influence the right people to get noticed and progress their careers.

They’re doing bits and pieces to get out of the rut; not realising there’s a better way.

For example, they think their resume is the problem so they go to a resume writer, or they think their LinkedIn profile is the problem so they have their LinkedIn profile redone.

Because they don’t understand how connected everything is, they don’t see any real results.

So, how to unstick yourself?

Over my years as an HR and recruitment specialist, I discovered that career progression was reliant on the connection of a whole raft of factors and that if any of those links were missed, career success would be much harder to achieve.

So, I developed a blueprint to help my clients make sense of how it all fits together.

Let’s imagine career success as the centre point of your focus, so think about what career success means to you.

Some people want to climb the corporate ladder and others just want to move laterally.

Some want to set boundaries, then there are those who want to be tuned into the work force, so it's very personal.

But, regardless of exactly what career success means to you, there are three key elements required to create a career plan that gets you where you want to be.

1. Understanding and getting clarity on your genius zone.

That is, why people should hire or promote you.

It’s vital you understand what your unique value proposition is to your company and to establish it, we map out your career.

We take inventory of everything you've done in your career, so we can understand what you like, what you dislike, what we can delegate, and we can position you the right way.

It gives us an understanding of what makes you, you.

So how do you establish your genius zone?

First off, we do some serious career mapping

We take inventory of everything you've done, so we can understand what you like, what you dislike, what we can delegate and we can position you the right way.

Secondly, we establish what your values are. 

We want to have credibility with our senior leaders and colleagues and that credibility comes from a combination of your values and the actions you take.

You need to understand how you want your values to be represented in the organisation by your colleagues, your superiors and through the company.

And the third approach is to create your pitch. 

Now we have an understanding of who you are, what you want to do and what your values are, we can create your elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is a short description of exactly what you do and what problem you solve to clearly articulate yourself in a networking event, on your resume or when you introduce yourself.

So your pitch is the core of everything. Once you have created it, you’ve built the foundation for everything else.

So, that’s how we understand your genius zone, why people should hire or promote you. Once we know that, we move on to the second part.

2. The second part is your self-marketing material.

This is essentially your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.

Number one. You need a resume that stands out.  

Your resume needs to be authentic and it needs to be linked to your pitch. It shouldn’t be a list of everything you've done, rather, it needs to be a snapshot, a teaser of why they should hire you.

Secondly, you need a LinkedIn profile that is optimised, that gets noticed by head-hunters and HR. 

It needs to tell the same story about the value you can create for an organisation.

Your LinkedIn profile is so important, not only for when you're looking for a job, but also when you're in a job and want to get promoted.

Your LinkedIn profile is how colleagues in other divisions, other parts of the country, or world even, perceive you. It’s about your reputation.

Thirdly, your cover letter needs to complement your resume. 

We work on getting you a cover letter that really complements and articulates that special element that communicates why you are good for that particular position

3. The third element is, of course, creating a strategy.

You’ve pinpointed who you are, why people should hire you and what your unique value proposition is, but without a strategy, none of it is going to be as effective as it could be.

So, number one: raise your profile. 

  • Externally (when you’re seeking a new job altogether), when you want to talk to recruiters, to navigate both the hidden and public job markets, to use LinkedIn,
  • Internally (when you’re seeking a promotion), to network, to connect with the right people and to increase your influencing opportunities.

Next, hone your interviewing skills.

Your interview or presentation skills both internally and externally, are vital for your success.

Externally you need to know how to communicate to an interviewer what it is that makes you special. You can't waffle because everybody at your level is good at what they do, so you have to make sure you articulate clearly and demonstrate confidence that you can overachieve in the job.

Internally, you need to know how to navigate the performance review process. You need to make sure your boss understands the value that you've been adding, so you become the obvious choice for that promotion

And the last element we focus on is negotiation.

Now the clients I work with are pretty good at negotiating, but when it comes down to negotiating with themselves, it's often another matter.

You need to learn how to negotiate to get the salary you want, or the promotion or that salary increase.

Now I'm not a hard-core negotiator, so I teach my clients a soft approach to negotiating exactly what they want so that they get paid what they deserve.

I hope my insights give you an understanding of how all the pieces of the puzzle come together to create career success. Book in a no-commitment call with me today if you’d like to discuss the blueprint in relation to your personal career plan.


Hi, I'm Caroline De Kimpe, Career & Leadership Coach and founder of The Career Success Program (

I'm an Executive Recruiter and Senior HR Professional turned Career & Leadership Coach.

My speciality? I help professionals, like you,  land their next 6-figure leadership role where they feel challenged, fulfilled and get the financial rewards they deserve by helping them build their confidence, raise their profile and stand out from the crowd.

My career expertise has been featured in The Daily Telegraph, Marie Claire and Leaders In Heels.



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