This 2022 take a strategic, active approach to managing your career that will improve your odds of achieving success this year and beyond. In other words, don’t just float around in an ocean of opportunities hoping the currents will take you to an island of your dreams. Instead, actively search for that island and then start swimming!
In this spirit, adopt these three career essentials and avoid the dangers (stagnation, layoffs, “settling”) that come with a more passive approach to your career.
1. Develop a vision for where you want to go with your career.
Having long-term goals help you to make better short-term decisions. Center these long-term career goals around creating a purpose-driven, meaningful life. According to research, you’ll achieve a deeper sense of wellbeing from your chosen path if you choose your career goals with this in mind.
To better understand what’s needed to achieve your long-term vision. The questions you ask yourself might include:
How do I want my career and job to fit into or support the rest of my life?
What type of work do I want to be engaged in, and at what level? You may find that these assessment exercises will help you to figure this out.
What industry or sector do I want to be in?
What type of organization do I want to work for (including potentially my own)? Is it the same as the one I’m in now or something different? If different, how is it different?
2. Come up with a plan.
Figure out how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you want to be at each point in the vision you laid out. The best plans are highly specific around actions, metrics, benchmarks and timeframes.
To help you move forward, consider creating a four-month plan that will include these three phases:
A decision-making phase around job targets, which includes taking self-assessment exercises, developing your long-term vision, and several other several sub-steps.
A planning and organizing phase, which should include a contact management strategy, your positioning, filling any gaps in knowledge, and your job search marketing materials (resume, LinkedIn profile, pitch, and emails).
A getting-interviews execution phase – where you would join the right associations and prioritize your network and cold outreach over job postings and search firms.
Some plans to achieve your vision may involve taking a financial risk. For example, you may be contemplating quitting your job to start your own business or make a big career change. If this risk is holding you back, try to assess a) how likely the risk is to be realized, b) if there are ways to mitigate it, and c) what the opportunity cost is of not taking the risk, via this “Fear Setting” exercise.
3. Build and maintain your network of relationships.
In a job search, whether internal within your current organization or at a new place, the best opportunities are usually found through your network. Also, if you’re trying to move up within your current organization, building your network and optimizing your relationships with those at all levels of your organization will be key to your success.
As an added benefit, building and maintaining relationships, even those that are based on “loose ties,” will make you happier.