If you’re like me, you’ve been at a crossroads in your career before.
I hit my first career roadblock after graduating from university. My carefully thought out and intricately planned career had completely turned itself upside down.
So, now what?
I felt lost, confused, and defeated. I wasn’t sure what direction to take in my career. I didn’t know if I could still even have a career. I could have used a career coaching session (or several) back then.
Eventually, I pivoted. I found my way into the IT world and loved navigating project, product, and service Management and I loved creating content. But even along my project management career, I’ve hit more crossroads, as well as roadblocks.
It’s inevitable. In any growth journey, you’re faced with making choices about your career. But especially when change accelerates, so do career choices (both big and small).
The rewards of pursuing a career outweigh those of concentrating just on a job. It is challenging to find and hold on to a job for a long time in our fast-paced society. The term ‘job security’ almost doesn’t apply.
Consider your career interests and look into career options in that field to help you decide what career you want to pursue. Take the time to research the entry requirements, wage rates, and expected career trajectory. You can create a career plan that will lead you in the right direction by researching the career you want.
For organizations, this means that employees must make decisions regarding their careers more frequently. Things are changing more swiftly than ever, and organizations must remain agile and quick to stay in line with top priorities. It implies that the ambiguity gap could expand for your people. That can be upsetting and a potential source of misunderstandings.
Research has shown that people desire meaningful employment and that such work helps prevent burnout. The ability of the employee to learn, grow, and stay relevant is one factor that contributes to the meaning of everyday work. By doing this, employees can get closer to their career goals and aspirations.
Given the high degree of uncertainty in our society, it is important to understand how to identify and build your career in a way that will enable you to thrive through challenging economic times. Here are effective strategies that you can utilize to pave a successful career path for yourself.
Know Your Purpose
There is a purpose to our existence. We weren’t made to just exist and pay our bills. Life would continue to be a never-ending series of struggles and pointless pursuits until we discover and pursue that purpose. You need to know the answers to the following questions in order to understand your purpose: What are you naturally good at? What do you feel strongly about? What brings you the most happiness? You can only start to have a fulfilling career if you learn the answers to these questions.
Have a Clear Vision
Your vision drives you — having a clear, specific, and exciting vision motivates you. Vision is a picture of the future, whereas purpose is the reason why you exist. The best way to foresee your future is to create it. What do you see as the broad picture? Can you envision how your life will be in 5, 10, or 15 years? A clear vision of your future provides your life greater purpose and enables you to focus all of your energy on establishing a career that is in line with your purpose.
Identify Your Goals
Goals are the mechanism that transforms our vision into reality. Once you are aware of your purpose and you have a clear vision of your future, then it is time to take those steps by setting SMART goals.
- Specific: What goals do you want to achieve, and why? Make your goal specific so that you can visualize it.
- Measurable: Make sure your goal can be measured so you can monitor your progress.
- Achievable: Ask yourself if your goal is achievable. You should aim high and make a goal with an open mind.
- Relevant: Make sure your goal is relevant to you or any other goals you may have. Consider whether you should be doing something else or if this is the right thing for you to be doing.
- Time-bound: Set a time frame to achieve your goal and stick to it.
Develop the Skills, Knowledge and Competence
Every career path has a variety of essential success factors that distinguish high fliers from the rest of the pack. Your ability to successfully build your career path depends on your ability to recognize these factors. Your responsibility is to completely understand how each one relates to your position or job, then grade yourself in each area. For example in Project management the critical success factors are the following 7 skills: Effective communication, Negotiation, Scheduling and Time management, Planning and Strategic thinking, Leadership, Risk Management, and Task and Team management.
By speaking with others who are successful in the career field you have selected, you can learn more about these factors. Your objective is to determine where you are lacking and make a plan to improve (through training, reading, networking, mentorship etc). You can start to include micro-goals in your career plan by comparing the knowledge and abilities you now possess with what is necessary to achieve your goals.
Consider Your Personal Value
You should initially try to determine the kind of organization that would be a good fit for you if you haven’t decided on a company that you would like to work for in the future. If you have experience, think about the management style and corporate culture of your former employment.
Determine what you value in a workplace, much as companies have their own specified values and policies: is it a healthy work-life balance, growth opportunities, or a fun and dynamic work environment? You’ll make the appropriate job decisions and succeed professionally if you create a career plan that reflects your own values.
Build a professional resume that reflects who you are. Your resume essentially is a means for saying “I’m good at this, good at that, and I can help by doing this and that”.
By dealing with this item, you may rest assured that you won’t ever be caught off guard. Opportunities are available everywhere, therefore you should constantly have a strong resume on hand.
Have Career Mentors
There is nowhere you want to travel that has not already been explored by others. If you are humble enough to study under people who have come before you, it will save you a lot of time. Mentors help you avoid costly mistakes and accelerate your growth by keeping you from reinventing the wheel. Make an effort to find mentors who will assist you in advancing your career. It’s interesting to note that people with great jobs seek out chances to teach the younger generation about their vast knowledge and expertise.
What’s more, you can visit your career mentors at any point in your career! If you feel like you’re no longer making progress or not enjoying the work you’re doing, your career mentors can assist with readdressing your goals and tailoring a better way forward.
Build Professional Networks
We were created to be in relationships. And networking is all about opportunities and connections. Regardless of how smart or intelligent you may believe yourself to be, you will never be able to reach your full potential without the support and assistance of others. Five years from now, you’re the same person, except the books you have read and for the people you have met. You largely get the chance to benefit from the skills of new people you meet. Naturally, you must also return something—your expertise, your money, or your services. Successful people constantly network and build those profitable, long-lasting connections.
Make social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn first. The finest options for this kind of activity are these three particular networks. Along the way, you’ll come across a variety of opportunities and career choices. For instance, LinkedIn is filled with business executives who are simultaneously networking and promoting their organizations. Facebook and Twitter are also widely used in similar situations. Facebook is useful for networking as well as for everything else.
You would benefit greatly by making an attempt to interact with people who are on a similar career path as you. We all require encouragement, assistance, and suggestions that can make the path to our destination easier. You would have access to many opportunities through expanding and building your network, which you might not have discovered on your own.
Read and Study About Your Career Path
Finally, make it a habit to read all material related to your career. Learn as much as you can about the most successful people in your industry both locally and globally. Learn from their strategies for success and incorporate them into your own life. Also learn about the most recent trends in your industry. Learn more about the difficulties and opportunities facing your field. You stand out from your peers if you are knowledgeable in your field. You turn into a speaker that others desire to hear. Eventually, this would assist you in establishing credibility and offer you a powerful voice within your sphere of influence.
A strong career plan can propel you toward professional success and provide you the tools you need to be proactive. Setting aside time to concentrate on your personal career plan is a great way to define your professional aspirations. You can build a framework that you can use as you develop and improve professionally in your career by mapping out the steps to success.
You must hold yourself accountable for meeting the goals and timeframes you have established. Take the time to analyze your strategy and see if you are on track, just as you would with your job when you have frequent performance reviews. If you’re behind schedule, you can adjust your goals accordingly, and if you’re ahead, you’ll be motivated to keep going.