It wasn’t that long ago that a worker generally stayed with one company their entire lifetime. Their career progression generally consisted of patiently waiting for senior leadership to identify them for an internal promotion. Today’s world has changed, and a savvy person actively manages their career to place themselves in the best possible position for internal and/or external opportunities.
While actively managing your career does take some time and commitment, the good news is that it is quite possible to accomplish along with your other personal and work responsibilities. Let’s take a look at some of the actions that you can take to drive ownership of your career.
• Have a Plan for Your Career: It is important to know what you want out of your career and have a timetable of when you wish to accomplish steps towards the goal. By doing this internal review, you will then be able to actively work towards achievement and also be much more aware when opportunities present themselves that assist you in reaching the plan.
• Continuous Education: The term education can be defined pretty broadly in this example. This may mean formally going back to school to add/finish a bachelors degree or add a masters to your education background. It could mean adding a professional certification in your field that indicates that you are a subject matter expert in that particular area. At the micro level, continuing your education may mean attending various webinars and internal development courses that will facilitate your growth progression.
• Stretch Assignments: For many, this term has a negative perception of having to do more work. But the savvy career-minded position will have their antennas up for assignments that will allow them to learn something new and be highly visible when successful. A stretch assignment is when a person accepts (temporarily) additional or different responsibilities than their own. This could be due to a project or to filling in for someone who is absent (leave, termination, etc.).
• Keeping Everything Updated: You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so your social media and resume should always be updated. This means more than just making sure that your employer status reflects where you are currently. You should be reviewing to evaluate on a regular basis whether there are any new skills to add or accomplishments to note. This way you do not have to keep a recruiter waiting for your documents if they reach out to you or there is a position you wish to post on.
• Perform Well In Your Role: It sometimes gets lost in their career discussions that a fundamental building block is performing well in your current role. Really everything else is built up from this foundation. If you are seeking an internal promotion, then your current performance is what will open people’s eyes to the fact that you are ready for that next step. Your strong performance should be the highlight of your resume’s noted accomplishments. It should also be the basis of receiving referrals or even having previous colleagues reach out to you regarding openings with their current company.
• Seek a Mentor Relationship: A mentor is someone who has progressed further in their career than you have currently and is willing to share their guidance on how you can move forward. This can be someone you have networked with via professional organizations or social media, or someone from earlier in your career that you have stayed in contact with, such as a former manager. The idea is that this person can provide you their wisdom or just an ear to listen to your thoughts or frustrations.
• Cultivate Your Network: The broader brush than a mentor is overall networking. Networking provides you with a group of people that can assist you in your job search by providing you with leads or references. It is important to continually cultivate your network by not only seeking new connections, but also staying tethered to your current group with periodic communication.
Managing your career is critical to making sure you place yourself in the best position to move forward in your career. A savvy person balances not only the requirements of their current position, but also continually evolves in anticipation of future opportunities. By doing so, you give yourself a competitive advantage over people who are more passive with their career.
As always, best of luck in your job search!
The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
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