Career management skills are something everyone needs. In the past, many people had fairly clear and stable career paths, often within the one company. Today, however, changing companies or even careers is not uncommon. Therefore we need to take control of managing our own career direction. I sat down recently with FIVEaa’s Alan Hickey to discuss four skills I think are key to managing your own career well.
Try to develop an understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. There are two benefits to enhancing your self-awareness in this way. First, it allows you to build on your strengths and identify areas that you might be able to improve. Secondly, understanding your own strengths better can help with highlighting your most valuable skills to employers and recruiters. Being able to make the most of your strengths begins with knowing them. From there, you can leverage them to help create a career path that suits your skills, experience, interests and ambitions.
Whatever stage you are at in your career, networking can connect you with opportunities. It’s never too early or too late to start or re-start networking. However you currently feel about networking, it is a skill that you can learn. Find a networking style that suits you. Then make it a regular habit to both connect with people in your network and look for opportunities to expand your network. Do this consistently and you’ll be building a strong network over time. A strong network is invaluable for managing your own career. It can give you access to opportunities and insights that you otherwise might not have had. Therefore it pays to maintain your network throughout your career, because you never know when you might need it.
Ongoing professional development is essential in today’s competitive job market. Even when you are in a stable position, many employers and industries require ongoing training that maintains and grows your skill set. There are many ways to do this well. What’s best will depend on your circumstances and goals. It could be as simple as doing some online training or going to conferences, workshops or seminars. On the other end of the spectrum, you might need to do some formal study or gain a new certification. When choosing how to upskill, look for what could be valuable in future roles you might want as well as what will be helpful in your career right now.
Goal setting and planning
Setting clear career goals can help you proactively manage your career. Choose goals that are meaningful to you. Keep track of your progress and celebrate your achievements. While it’s good to have a plan, being flexible is also part of managing your career well. What does this look like? Being open to opportunities. Don’t become so focused on a specific career path that you can’t see alternative ways to reach your goals. Stay alert to opportunities that take you in the right direction, even if they’re not in your original plan.
What’s your approach to managing your career? Are career management skills something you’re currently using or something you can develop? Whatever your career stage, I encourage you to take control of your career and learn the skills you need to manage your career better.
Every month I talk recruitment with Alan Hickey on FIVEaa. Follow SULLIVAN Consulting on social media for the latest updates on when to hear us and what topic we’re tackling next.