Plan your career moves wisely… you can’t afford not to when the job market’s as bleak as it now is. Good career planning safeguards your job security. Even if your current job abruptly vanishes because of unexpected events (eg company mergers, deep government spending cuts and the like), it’ll help you find a new job faster.
This article covers the 3 simple steps you take to create an effective career moves strategy that protects you in bad times and helps you prosper when there are more opportunities.
Developing your strategy requires some hard thinking about previous and future career moves but nothing too complicated. It calls for a bit of research and data collection (not much) and enough confidence in your own judgement to take important decisions about your future without having perfect information.
As the first step in planning your career moves strategy, take a long, hard look at the job you’ve got. This is easier to do if you’re able to consult key documents such as your job description, recent appraisals, personal training records and any information you’ve got about loved and loathed work assignments. You’ll still be able to go ahead, though, even if you can’t get hold of these documents.
Ask yourself is your job a “good enough” fit for you? Do you enjoy it? Do your bosses see you as having at least average potential for further promotion?
If any of your answers are “no, not really”, the most urgent of your career moves is to home in on the precise reasons for the problems with your current job and remedy them before your career development suffers worse damage or you need to look for another job.
For example, suppose your boss never chooses you for the high prestige roles that would help you make future career moves. Instead of silently resenting his favouritism, turn detective and find out why these tasks are offered to your colleagues. Are your colleagues more savvy than you are at monitoring what’s going on in the workplace (so they grab the good career opportunities before anyone else spots them)? Have they particular skills, acquired through attending a company course you could also attend? Find out the special reasons that give your colleagues an advantage over you, then use what you’ve discovered to put yourself on an equal footing.
If the job problems facing you are bigger than you can tackle on your own, consider working with a career counsellor to review your present position and work out your best career moves from here.
Having reviewed your current job, check what would happen if you had to find a new one (everybody needs a Plan B). Go online, tap in [your job title] jobs. The jobs market is lousy at present but does your speciality offer as many career moves with acceptable salaries as any other? If not, you’ve had a wake up call to review and change your career path.
There’s a reasonable number of vacancies at your level… Are you a competitive candidate for them? The online job ads will soon show if you’re short of an essential qualification or need to top up your achievements in particular areas of your job. In career planning today, it’s sometimes as helpful to be a good candidate for sideways career moves as for promotion.
Last step in planning your career moves strategy…. Go online again and check the availability and requirements of jobs more senior to your own (those promotion spots you’ll apply for in the next few years). If all’s well, you know you’ve reasonable prospects for enjoying a good and secure career.
It’s your responsibility to plan your future career moves – no-one else will take as anywhere near as much interest in your personal progress, income and job satisfaction. Good career planning gives you a much, much better chance of making the career moves you want and of avoiding becoming one of the desperate many looking for anything they can get at a half-way decent salary. You’ll also stand out as one of the very, very few candidates able to explain their career path and future ambitions convincingly at interview!