Articles & Links

Taking control of your career

Does this sound like you?  ‘I just seem to have fell into this, I didn’t proactively choose what I do, I’m not sure it’s what I want, and now I want to take more ownership in my career. I think I need career coaching but I don’t know where to start.’

Following the pandemic and transition to hybrid working, it has led a lot of people to reassess what is important to them in both their life and career. Now it’s even more important than ever to gain ownership of your career, future proof your employability, and take action towards a more fulfilling professional and personal life.

Over the years we have helped many clients to successfully navigate their career and make changes.  Here are 5 ways to put yourself in the driving seat of your career:-

  1. Keep track of your achievements

Note down at the end of every week what you’ve achieved, no matter how small. Include any numbers and metrics where appropriate. What are you most proud of? What did you learn? Not only will it practically help you with your evolving CV, it’ll also focus your mind on the habit of positive reflection. If you don’t do this regularly it can be very difficult to remember your achievements, particularly the specific facts and figures that are essential for a stand-out CV.

  1. Nurture your network

This is critical to any career development. The power of connection in career will drive your success. Make a note of people you’ve been meaning to get back in touch with or want to build a relationship with further, and just reach out. Schedule a coffee or virtual chat, let them know your interests, and also think about how you can help them so the conversation is mutually beneficial. This is particularly helpful if you are looking to change role or career into a new sector. People are the best resource for gaining insight, advice, and connections to enable your next move.

Internal networking can be beneficial in building your professional brand and becoming the ‘go to person’ for whatever your value is in your organisation.  Find a genuine business need to build a relationship with someone from a different function (one that you also have a potential career interest in). Schedule a date in your diary to meet and learn more about their area of the business, and their current challenges. This can both benefit your mutual business agenda, and can also help lay the foundations of support for any future career move.

  1. Drive your career agenda alongside the strategic business agenda.

If you are looking to grow your career in an organisation, think strategically about where there is a gap. Think broader than the obvious ‘step up the ladder’ in terms of a title. What do your stakeholders need from you now and in the future?

The employment landscape has changed significantly and there are no ‘set in stone’ roles. Organisations evolve roles to suit their business agenda and you can play an influential part of that journey. If you spot a business need in the organisation that matches your experience, skills, and career interest then take action to share this with your most influential stakeholders. You may well have the chance to influence the future shape of your organisation, and at the very least you will be forefront of mind if and when these opportunities occur.

  1. Develop career adaptability.

Take the agile approach to your career. Linear steps up a ladder no longer exist. This expectation can lead to frustration, and also a lack of ‘future-proofing’ if you fall off the ladder from the top.

When people tell me their career stories, I sometimes hear them justify a sideways move as if it’s viewed as a less favourable option; this mindset is shifting. Careers are not linear. Forget about the ladder and think about how you are learning new transferable skills, and building your career AQ (Adaptability Quotient). One of my favourite career theorists Mark Savickas talks about the 4 C’s of career adaptability. Here’s a few self-coaching questions based on his framework.

Concern – What is the future of my industry/organisation, how aware am I of future tends/challenges?

Control – How can I prepare for this? how deliberate and proactive am I in pursuing my goals?

Curiosity – What further opportunities can I explore for professional growth?

Confidence – What area do I need to build my confidence in and who can support me?

And you can add one more C for Commitment: What’s the action I will take right now ?

  1. Heighten your self-awareness.

Better self-awareness allows you to make better career choices.  Know your values, here’s a link to a short video on this I recorded a while ago but still relevant now. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/stephanierixcareercoach_values-careercoaching-careerdevelopment-activity-6661169053782151168-VHli

DISC profiling can also be very helpful for identifying your behaviours from others’ perspective and can highlight any tensions, we can support you with DISC assessments. There are also plenty of free and reasonably priced tools to evaluate your strengths and personality from many different providers. We like this strengths evaluation from principles you, and also this values evaluation from  https://www.valuescentre.com/tools-assessments/pva/

The Seneca quote ‘luck is what happens when planning meets opportunity’ is so true. If you need to boost your career planning to enable more opportunities then please get in touch through our website lifesworkconsulting.com