1 Take responsibility for Your Career
- Actively manage your career
In the same way you manage other aspects of your personal life you should actively manage your career if you want to improve your chances of being successful. No one else cares as much about your career as you do and so no one else should be in control.
- You own your career – your employer owns your job
When you find a job and at any stage of your career it’s your employer that pays you and they “own” the job and it’s their decision to improve it or remove it or find someone else to do it. They own it .But, you own your career and what you do affects what happens to it and so you must take responsibility for managing it.
- It’s better to be employable than employed. Always ensure you have transferrable marketable skills so that in the event that you become unemployed you will be in demand and can become employed relatively quickly.
- If in doubt about your career direction choose options that keep your options open.
- Keep yourself up to date with what’s going on in the economy, your sector and profession, your company so that you take advantage of opportunities or make other relevant career decisions.
- Ensure you complete an annual career audit to review your career and answer 3 questions:
1. Where are you now? Review yourself – your strengths & weaknesses, achievements and roadblocks and be able to describe your work preferences.
2. Where do you want to go? Articulate your career goals and aspirations 1/3/5 years out and why you want your career to move in that direction.
3. How will you get there? What do you have to do this year to get ahead? Invest in yourself by adding new skills/experience every year.
2 What’s your value proposition?
- What is it that makes you unique?
- Analyse yourself – your preferences, strengths, knowledge, experiences, dislikes – know everything about yourself.
- Ask your friends, family, work colleagues what they think your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Develop your proposition to the world – know what it is and develop it refine it and be able to communicate it. It could be technical, social or practical or a combination. Whatever it is – find it and articulate it into a headline proposition which you can use to promote yourself on your resume, in interviews and in discussions with your referees and network
3 Work on improving your people skills
On almost every finance and technology role we work on our clients request strong people skills. They want to know that you can communicate effectively in written reports, face to face, one to one, or presenting to groups and very importantly that you’re able to mix socially with work colleagues and develop trust and respect from them.
If it’s not a skill that comes naturally it’s one that you need to work on and develop as the most successful professionals have all mastered the art.
4 Network and promote yourself
The word “networking” evokes the image of selling one’s soul to a crowded room of suited aggressive professionals which leaves most of us, me included, cold. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Successful networking involves meeting with and speaking with a range of friends, business colleagues past and present, and fellow industry professionals to develop a network or portfolio of 20 or 30 people that you know reasonably well and whom know many others. It’s worth you keeping up to date with them every 6-9 months through coffee catch ups telephone calls so you stay on speaking terms.
Also attend when you can relevant industry or professional events so that you meet like-minded people. This network becomes very useful if you need to reach out to people if you have a professional or employment opportunity or issue. Using the professional networking site LinkedIn can also help you build a wider, less intimate network.
Paul Lyons, Ambition, November 2011