DO YOU HAVE A DRIP ON YOUR CAREER?Tweet
Career is not just about landing a job – though that is definitely the first step – you should also have a career strategy. If you are poised on the threshold you should read this.
While people don’t change jobs as frequently as a few years ago, they still do it. While earlier frequent job changes were considered the fast track to growth, people have now realized that stability matters too. The top echelons too are focusing on retention and making efforts like improved benefits packages to retain employees. So if you are thinking you should change jobs for career change or why change careers, maybe you don’t have your career strategy down pat. If that’s the case read on. If not just let us know what you are looking for and we’ll do all we can to help.
What is Career Strategy?
Your career strategy is your Plan of Action (POA) to meet your career goals. That is the simplest definition of the term. So for instance if your ultimate goal is to have your own business, you’ll want to gain some experience and understand the space – industry or sector – where you want to operate. The first step obviously would be to secure a job in this space. What next? Should you quit after a few years or take up a higher position to gain more experience? There are the kind of decisions that you need to take – and planning in advance makes it easier to decide. You might think of it as the 5-year plan of your career.
How to build your Career Strategy for the next 5 years?
The simplest career strategy is DRIP – Determine Research Identify Plan.Tweet
Determine your Goal
Obviously if you are chalking out a route, you should know where you are headed. So that’s your first step. Determine what you want to do. It does not have to be your long term goal – like I want to start online business – though that is important. You can however set several short term goals – like acquiring a new skill or gaining expertise in your industry – and reconnoiter once you have achieved those goal. When determining your goals ask yourself –
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What motivates you?
- What excites you?
- What are you willing to give up?
- What are the skills you possess?
- What is the one thing that sets you apart from others like you?
The answers to these questions may generate more questions which in turn may generate even more. While this may sound like an endless process, you’ll know when you have what you need which means it is time to move to the next step.
If you are having trouble setting your goals this might help –
Every degree, skill, and qualification opens the door to multiple opportunities. As you progress along your career, your experience coupled with your knowledge and skills will present several opportunities. Some may be easily apparent while you might have to look closer for others. It’s up to you to dig as deep as necessary to identify the opportunities available to you and make an informed choice. This means you may have to dig even deeper once you have shortlisted some paths. A lot would depend upon whether you are considering a short term or long term goal.
Unlike a decade ago, there are many channels for research available today. The Internet is perhaps the biggest one. Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn provide extensive information about the people working for the organization that you hope to join. Sites like glassdoor.com allow employees to share their experience working with the organization. You should also check the online company profile, the news, and track industry events to see what’s happening in the space you want to enter.
Identify your routes
As we said, there will be multiple opportunities available, and depending upon your choices you might just end up veering off on a tangent from your long term goal. So for instance if you had originally aspired to be a business owner you might realize along the way that you do not have what it takes in terms of knowledge, skill, resources, finance or plain and simple grit to become one. If you still want to be independent, you might become a freelancer or you might just decide to quit that route and set a new target like becoming the director of a corporate.
The point is, at every career milestone, you should take a pause, reconnoiter and research before moving forward. Where possible, keep more than one option open so that you can make a quick switch when necessary. You should also identify specific actions that you can take to further your career. Some of the questions you can ask yourself are –
- Do I have the skills to fulfil the requirements or should I upskill?
- What do I have that can showcase my talent – such as projects accomplished or awards won?
- Is there a project or task that I can execute to move closer my career goal?
- What are the challenges if I choose to do X or Y?
Answers to such questions will help you make right decisions. It might be worth your while spending some time and drafting a list of such questions that conform to where you are and where you want to be. If you think you need to upskill, there are many affordable options available.
Plan your strategy
Once you’ve got everything in perspective it’s time to pin down your plan. Remember though you should be flexible so that you can take advantage of any alternatives that come your way. Again writing it down helps so you might write things like this.
This type of analysis is not just the forte of project managers alone. Your career is your biggest project and planning it carefully matters greatly to you. So put things in perspective, get your career strategy right and then forge ahead.