Investing in your career
Investing in your career should become a permanent fixture on your ‘To-Do’ list. Why? Because 75% of who you are – where you live, your status, your dressing, your present and your future – are all somehow influenced by your career and your earnings. We believe having a continuous personal career review/audit and evaluation is critical in ensuring you are maximising your personal ROI (return on investment) for the time you are putting into your career, given that more than 50% of the time you are awake is spent working.
Have a clear mission and vision
Based on your values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses, creating a little mission/vision about what you want to achieve from your job. Key words you may want to consider in creating this: ‘happiness’, ‘enjoying’, ‘job satisfaction’, ‘work-life-balance’, ‘flexibility’, ‘progress’, ‘more responsibility’, ‘promotion’, ‘earn more’, ‘network’ or ‘build confidence’.
Create your own little personal mission statement, briefly defining your values, beliefs, motives and purpose – both in life and at work. Based on your mission, strengths and weaknesses, creating a little vision about what you want to achieve from your job. Key words you may want to consider in creating this: ‘happiness’, ‘enjoying’, ‘job satisfaction’, ‘work-life-balance’, ‘flexibility’, ‘progress’, ‘more responsibility’, ‘promotion’, ‘earn more’, ‘network’ or ‘build confidence’.
Create a career game plan and SMART objectives
Then use the mission/vision to build momentum by creating a simple game-plan and objectives you can use to achieve this. Use the popular management mnemonic; SMART to ensure the objectives in your game-plan objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Make nice little practical, realistic, actionable and measurable steps which you should constantly review.
For instance, if you are looking for a job, your little steps towards that would include:
• I want to create/update my CV and LinkedIn profile in the next 48 hours
• I want to register my details with job boards and recruitment agencies in the next 3 days
• I want to search for jobs on job boards, employer websites and recruitment consultants’ websites by end of week
• I want to reach out to and network with potential employers in the next week
If you are aiming to getting promoted, your little steps towards that would include:
• I want to start connecting and hanging around with key people such as XYZ from this month
• I want to mention my intentions to get promoted to my manager in my next monthly review, and I want to clarify the key criteria and pre-requisites to progress within the organisation
• I want to propose having meetings with a key manager(s) in the business to discuss my weekly/monthly reports, accomplishments and progress as a way of making my achievements visible to key stakeholders
• I want to enrol on this, course XYZ next month and I will be updating my manager on my progress on a regular basis
• I have identified a need within the business for this XYZ report/project which could help the business, I want to speak to my manager and the big boss if it’s possible to action this in the next 3 months
Constantly monitor and measure your progress and tick any achieved objectives and milestones.
Stay focussed as you build ‘Brand You’
Whether you are looking for a job, new to the role or have been in the role for donkey years and you feel you’re stagnating or it’s a relatively new role, stay focussed to ensure you build ‘Brand You’. Even if there are some aspects you hate in your current role or organisation, focus more on the aspects that you like or that are positive whilst you gradually map your strategy. Start thinking of where you would see yourself in the next 12 months – a new job? a senior role? working in another department within the business?
Build a network
Build your ideal trusted network to advise, support and guide you in the career enhancement process. Some useful networking tips include:
• Be-friending and linking up with key decision-makers and people in high places within the business as well as within your circle, even outside your organisation
• Identify a few people who could act as your mentors and professional allies. These could be within or outside your organisation
• Connect online, especially LinkedIn with people you think could be relevant to your career progression
• Join relevant professional associations or LinkedIn groups
Identify career-enhancing initiatives
Through embracing a bit of curiosity, creativity/innovation and an appetite for learning, investigate what people at the roles that you are aiming for have that you don’t have. Find out jobs relating to what you are aspiring for and identify what they are looking for that you don’t have. Possible gaps could include:
• Specific qualification(s) or training course(s)
• Experience of a specific nature
• Unique skills e.g. soft skills, leadership skills, technical expertise, IT skills or even advanced Excel skills
Once you have identified what you need consider the following;
• Find out if you can get funding/sponsorship to undertake the course/training. sponsoring it
• If it’s not possible, consider funding it yourself or get a loan
• Volunteer to undertake a project that could help you acquire the skills
• Request to transfer/volunteer/work in a specific team that have and are willing to help you acquire the skills on-the-job