Plan for Career SuccessCategory: Blog
Become Your Own Career Pilot
Regardless of the kind of work you do, your workplace has changed radically during the past five years and will continue to change during the next five years. It may seem that the best thing to do is sit back and wait until things settle to plan your next career move, since long-term planning seems futile. The truth is that this is the best time to examine options, plan career advancement, and take control of your own career success.
Because change is occurring so rapidly, employers won’t always have a clear plan for your career advancement. Some employers will provide various opportunities for professional development and career advancement, but you may need to put it all together and create a plan for continued career success. Look to the human resources department, leaders in the organization, colleagues inside and outside of the company and career, executive or transition coaches for advice. Think about the kind of work that suits you, and demonstrate how you can add value.
With the growth of new industries, new opportunities are available; on the other hand, some career opportunities are diminishing. The growth of new kinds of work means that we cannot rely on inherited ideas about career choice or what the safe careers are. Rethink your career options. Think about the trends that will affect your career, and develop the skills to remain relevant or to transition into a new career.
Every month there seem to be new occupations available, but employers are hiring slowly and must make careful decisions about employee selection and promotion. Their challenge is finding employees with the new skills needed for the new work environment. They are inundated with resumes and requests for employment from people with similar skills but not with the skills to fill the new needs.
Now is the time to look at the way you engage with your career and with the increasing range of choices open to you. Do your part by clearly understanding your interests and what motivates you to contribute your best. Assess your skills, knowledge and experiences, and figure out where else in the company you can be effective to gain different experiences and to demonstrate skills you are not able to use in your current position. At the same time, develop the skills you need to prepare you for the next step in your career. Take on projects that are critical to strategic initiatives and important to decision-makers.
Don’t be sidetracked by company rules and the way things are normally done. As a reader of Positively Successful, you know that there are unwritten rules that you need to know about how to get things done. and you have also developed the relationships to help you to discover what they are. Rules to determine promotions are broken frequently to get that right person in the right position. With this know-how, you can influence your employer to create a new job right for your talents. Begin by taking on projects where you can demonstrate initiative and your ability to manage implementation and achieve results quickly. Next, you’ll need to take on projects that demonstrate your ability to collaborate across departments and your strategic skills.
If your career plan is passive and relies on the intervention of others or if your strategy is to sit tight, keep your head down, and work hard doing the same thing expecting a different result, reconsider that plan and avoid obsolescence. Employers are not doing your career thinking for you, at least not to find opportunities for growth. They will, however, certainly help you make decisions if you are not providing value; unfortunately, that will likely mean career stagnation or position termination.
The key to career advancement in the current employment market is to take an active role in planning your own career, to work on the right work and to stay ahead of change.