Have you ever stepped back and said to yourself, “Hmm. I guess that was my career!”?
Few of us consciously plan our careers. Most tend to be reactive, making the best decision at the time based on the available information, when a career opportunity presents itself. Even if we have planned out our career path, we have most likely been knocked off course at some point because of a life event or job possibility that arose unexpectedly.
Whether we are at the beginning of our careers, or further along, there is no time like the present to consider what career success means for us. It is the key issue for everyone in the workforce. It applies regardless of the role we hold, our level in the organization, or the industry we are in. And being able to manage our career trajectory is critical whether we are an employee, contractor, consultant, or self-employed. Take the initiative to manage your career, or it will happen anyway, by default.
To find that next great opportunity, your career success sweet spot is at the intersection of:
Your Interests – What do you like to do? It is much easier to sustain strong performance doing something you enjoy doing.
Your Skills – What are you good at? It is much easier to sustain strong performance doing something you do well.
Market Needs – What are companies looking for? It is much easier to make a living if someone is willing to pay you to do what you like and are good at.
Career success is all about sustaining your role now and into the future. Your employability comes from making sure your personal goals align with organizational goals. It will be tough to land the right job now or in the future unless you can answer both these questions:
- What is your edge?
You need to be able to differentiate and articulate your career brand from others in the marketplace.
- Is it sustainable?
There may be a need for what you do in the short term, but it is important you try to determine if that need will exist in the future, as technology develops and skillsets morph and merge.
If you have been forced to consider your future because an organizational decision that has left you out of work, take full advantage of any outplacement services provided by your former employer. If you have chosen to initiate a career change because you are dissatisfied with the way your career is evolving, seek out advice from a small group of knowledgeable and wise mentors. Career success comes from reflection and action, as well as guidance and support through a structured process.Career Advice | Job Search