Boost Your Career – Developing A Strategy
To boost your career you need to develop a strategy and in Dan Schawbel’s words “Building a career is like mining for gold. You have to keep chipping away until you discover what you’re meant to do.”
How often have you sat back and reflected on how to boost your career? Many of us embark on a career without really ever giving a great deal of consideration on what we would like to achieve long term. Consequently, our careers evolve and we miss out on opportunities to boost our careers, promotions or even worse staying in a career that doesn’t make us happy.
So how often have you thought about how to boost your career? Do you believe you could achieve so much more? It’s true to say that most of us, if not all of us, want a career that plays to our passions, our strengths, provides us with an appropriate stretch, challenges us, and stimulates us. To say that no one career can provide all of this is not true, and there are numerous opportunities out there, so long as you can identify them and develop a strategy to boost your career to realise your ambitions, dreams and hopes.
BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DESTINY
All too often people sit back and expect others to take charge of their careers and make opportunities for them. Yet, good careers don’t just happen. You need to plan for it, decide what opportunities are currently available, and what ones you can obtain, who to build effective working relationships with, what different skills do you need to develop and so on. This takes times, and indeed effort. It’s not something that can be approached casually. This means taking personal responsibility to boost your career. You need a plan!
First of all, review your Strengths, Weaknesses, Motivators, and Values
To identify your preferred career, you really do need to identify what your values are, what drives you, in other words, what motivates you, before analysing your strengths and weaknesses aligned to your motives and values. Without spending the requisite time on this you run the risk of just jogging along again, albeit in a slightly different career, or worse still simply stagnating in your current role.
Think about what your interests are, what excites you, what type of people do you like to work with, what organisations interest you and how much responsibility do you want to have. Think about how you like to learn, and what is the ideal environment for you to be at your best. See our blog:
LEARNING STYLES – INDIVIDUAL LEARNING APPROACH
Secondly, identify your worth. What makes you different to others? What are your unique selling points? Note these down, and start drafting your elevator pitch. A good elevator pitch can really set you apart from others when presenting yourself as someone who is worth noting and investing in. A good elevator pitch is a must to boost your career and again this will take time and effort. For top tips on how to write a great elevator pitch, see our blog:
If you are stumped when identifying your unique selling points, ask others what they particularly value about you. What do they see as your strengths? What have you been complimented for recently? What have people thanked you for? What have you been especially proud of? These can all be captured as unique selling points.
Next, undertake to research opportunities and think about how you can turn these to your advantage. Take a step back and look at opportunities around you. Are there possibilities for you to boost your career in your current organisation? If you realise that your current organisation cannot offer you the appropriate opportunities, research other organisations that can. Ask if you can meet with an appropriate person in those organisations for a chat about the organisation, what their strategic plan is, do they have opportunities for you to shadow others, do they hold career fairs etc.
Revisit your SWOT Analysis, and update it to keep it fresh and relevant. What skills do you need to develop in particular and how you are going to address those skills gaps will require planning for, especially if you need to undertake and complete an accredited programme. It is also worth, at this stage, to think about finding a suitable coach and/or mentor. Does your current organisation have a coaching/mentoring programme?
Next, build your network. This is something many of us find uncomfortable. Yet, it is an important element to boost your career. Remember, people can only help you, if they know about you. It is also worth remembering that many people genuinely like to help others, and will be flattered that you have approached them; you are not asking them for a job, you are asking them to share their knowledge, skill and expertise.
You can develop your networks internally, by chatting to colleagues; senior managers etc., and also externally, with customers, suppliers and other professionals through networking events, membership association meetings, career fairs, trade shows etc.
As with other elements of planning on how best to boost your career, networking also takes planning. Do remember too, that networking works both ways. If others help you, be sure to return the favour! For more tips on networking, visit:
THE ART OF NETWORKING
Assess all of your options periodically. Now that you have your “end goal” in mind, you need to chunk this down into small, bite size steps, and adopt a tactical approach. Think about:
- Is there a forthcoming project you could volunteer for that would allow you to demonstrate your skills?
- Are there opportunities for you to undertake a secondment? Of undertake voluntary work to develop new skills?
- What other opportunities can you identify that will present you with sufficient challenge?
- Can you talk to your immediate line manager or HR department to access opportunities for you to develop your career?
Continually, assess all of your options and write them down. Set yourself deadlines for completing certain actions, and reflect on each action. Again, be honest with yourself about what you have actually achieved, what you have learnt, what could have been done differently and/or better.
Finally, pull it all together. You should at this stage, know:
- your key strengths
- your weaknesses, and have a plan to address them in a timely way
- what your motives are, and what grounds these into reality for you
- your top five values
- what your unique selling points are
- what your skill gaps are, and how you will address them
- who to approach to start developing your network
- how to access different opportunities to put your skills to use
BOOST YOUR CAREER WITH INTENT
Now, that you have completed all of the above steps, is now the time to boost your career with intent. Devise an action plan with SMART objectives:
- S – be Specific
- M – set Measurable goals
- A – take action
- R – be Realistic
- T – ensure the objective is Timely
Your action plan should have both short and long-term goals; short term should be achievable in the next 6 – 8 weeks and long term goals achievable in the next two or so years.
Take action, boost your career and watch it take off!