It wouldn’t be the start of the year without talk of goals and resolutions.
Many of these relate to our physical selves – diets, dry January, exercise plans…Potentially some people set some career goals but doing this as a one off with no supporting plan to reach them is unlikely to achieve anything, much like the physical fitness goals.
The first factor for success is you need to believe what you want to achieve is important and really feel the goals you set matter to you, otherwise you won’t be motivated enough to act on them. Secondly, you need to know how to start. I want to tackle both in this short article. You can also join the We Are The City webinar I am running on 11th February to help you further.
Why making time for your career development matters
- Without thinking about what you want to achieve in your career, you are at the mercy of what ‘happens’ to you, in essence the decisions made about what you work on and the roles you do. They may not always be things you are happy with but without a plan in another direction, that is likely to become the default.
- Without a plan of where you want to get to, you are neither likely to know what to work on for your career nor able to identify what you need to work on.
- Career might not feel like the most important thing to you, ever or at this moment and it shouldn’t be in all likelihood. However, many of us spend a lot of time working, so you want it to be the best it can be and feel your skills are well used and recognised. Humans need a sense of validation and achievement to thrive.
Too many people think their career is steered by their boss or their HR department, it isn’t. If those people are doing a good job, they will work with you but you need to consider what you want and what you need to work on, to identify what support you need and achieve it.
How to get started
- Time – you need to, regularly, allocate some time to think about your career. Plan it for a time when you can have some head space, whether that be first thing in the morning or last thing in the day. This needs to become a regular slot to progress whatever plan you come up with.
- Gather any useful insights – this could include:
- Feedback received.
- Any outcomes from profiling or psychometric tests e.g. strengths profile.
- Observations you have had from others such as mentors, trusted colleagues.
- Any reading material – articles/books you already have that you could use to support your career development.
- Take notes – find somewhere to note your thoughts and to do some planning, this might be in a traditional notebook or in an online document.
- Explore – consider what your next career step might be:
- A step up – is this possible in your current company?
- A lateral move to get some experience in a different function/area?
- A company change?
- A career change?
- Gap analysis – next look at what gaps you have that may hinder achieving your desired next step.
- Make a plan – decide what you need to do to close the gaps you have identified and over what time period you aim to do that.
- Support – consider what support you need. This may just be reading materials, an online course, input from a colleague or mentor or working with a third party career expert, so you have accountability and input from a specialist.
I’ve identified that there are nine core skills that are often neglected but are pivotal to progression. Download my Nine Skills for career success – a short email series and e-Booklet which will support you with identifying your potential gaps and to work on your career development. You can request it here.
Join my webinar for We Are The City on 11th February: Career Management: Why and how to be proactive about your career.
About the author
Joanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image specialises in helping ambitious professionals and their organisations improve performance and achieve their goals.
She does this by helping them master and strategically use the business skills of Personal Impact and Relationship Management. These skills are required for professional success.
Before establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates. She understands the business world and its challenges. She now helps organisations and individuals understand how to succeed in it.
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