When was the last time you reviewed your career and give it a real ‘health’ check?
It used to be the case that employees advanced their careers by working hard, with a fairly clear idea of how they would progress over time. The reality is now that job security is far less assured. True security is best achieved personally – through internal direction, regular planning and a focus on being great at what you do.
- Are you still feeling motivated, energised and like you are making a positive impact on the company?
- Are there gaps in your skill set that may be preventing you moving forward?
- How are you viewed among your colleagues and within the management team?
- Is your field beset with limited options, a shrinking customer base and bouts of downsizing?
- Are new technologies enhancing or depleting your chances for professional growth?
- Is your line of work (and/or industry in general) expanding or contracting?
The answers to these questions will help you formulate a plan and decide whether you are best to be looking at new opportunities, improving your current skills or deciding on a major career overhaul. January and February generally represent the fastest period of change in industries as people hire and move to suit the new year.
Keep yourself essential by seeking out opportunities to add value to the company and its customers. Offer ideas, always do more than what is simply expected and make an effort to listen and communicate effectively with both other staff and customers.
The skills you offer represent your ultimate worth in a business. Keep your skills and knowledge current. An open mind is a very valuable thing – view change and innovation as an opportunity to learn and improve. Try and avoid the “it used to be better” banter – updates and upgrades are a part of life and they have been researched and tested.
Identify the skills in greatest demand for your line of work and make sure you can perform them well. If you read over job listings in your field, you will see what skills are most highly valued and focus on them.
Hard skills are critical, but remember that interpersonal or ‘soft’ skills can make all the difference. Those who ‘work well with others’ will progress. Make it a focus of 2016 to build constructive working relationships with people in all areas of the business you work in. It is often the trickiest part of an job, dealing with a wide range of personalities!
You don’t need to be best friends with everyone you work with, but you do need to be able to interact professionally and respectfully. Age and pay grade should never influence how you treat another person.
Above all, make certain you are taking full advantage of all of the opportunities available – you never know where something may lead.