The truth about career growth and development is that you cannot wait for managers or leaders to notice your value or let you know when you can start talking about your growth path, you need to lead that conversation.
Everyone should have a career portfolio of some kind, which is what most of us have if we combine our resumes, a core set of interview prep examples, and maybe the occasional blogs or thought pieces. These are typically a history of your work, but when you customize them properly, they become a tool for your career progress. A career growth portfolio is more than a list of your projects or accomplishments; each item should demonstrate a progression to a level up or a transition.
Similar to the STAR approach, the acronym CARL can be used to prepare for interviews. However, I have been using the CARL method for career growth and development mapping for many years. The feedback and outcomes have been exceptional since my team and I incorporated the CARL technique into our curriculum for our clients seeking professional growth and development.
The two versions of CARL are Context, Action, Result, Learning OR Challenge, Action, Result, Learning. The learning part is the key. The decision between them will rely on which is more appropriate for the client’s experience and goals but both are equally effective. The Context version is typically preferable if your career examples entail more strategic and complicated org-wide projects. If your career to date has been more focused on tactical execution or implementation, the challenge version is better because it will prompt you to be more direct.
The L is what will assist you in outlining growth transitions or development routes when you use the CARL approach to record your career examples. When you identify what you learned from that career example you add to your expertise. What you learned is an addition, and it should logically lead to what can come next whether it be a promotion to level up from where you are now, or it may introduce you to a potential pivot. Learning new things is a forward motion; it is growth. We need to regularly monitor our growth and development so we can take action when the path to what’s next begins to appear or when we see that a change in direction is needed.
We also use CARL for interview prep, depending on what works best for each person. Our interview prep kit includes options to use STAR, SBI or the method CARL but CARL has been a stand-out with career growth and development.