Do you sometimes feel like your career is just happening to you? You've been sitting in the same job at the same company for YEARS, and it just doesn't seem like you're moving forward, i.e. the "hamster on a wheel" feeling? If this sounds a lot like you, you may also be wondering if and how you can actually get out of this rut and regain control of your career. The truth is, your career direction is completely up to YOU!
You are the President and CEO of Your Career, Inc. and if you want success, you can't wait for others to chart your career course for you.
You have to be willing to take matters in your own hands! So here are a few ideas on how you can take control of your career, starting right now:
1. Determine Your Direction.
You may be frustrated with where you are in your career, but if you have no idea where you want to go, you still won't be able to make a plan to move forward. In order to build your road map, you first have to do the hard work of deciding what you actually want to do.
Take the time to decide what career(s) you would find the most fulfilling.
Ask yourself some key questions: 1) What work do I enjoy doing? 2) Can it be found in my current company or do I need to go elsewhere? 3) Can I do this work in the same industry, or do I need to switch gears? 4) Will I be OK if I am no longer using my degree?
Then set clear and concrete career goals, both short- and long-term. Where do you see yourself in a year or 5 years? Knowing WHAT you want to achieve, WHERE you want to work, and WHEN you want to get there will help you to create a realistic plan for your career and set milestones to keep you on track.
2. Talk To Your Boss.
If the career opportunity you are looking for is at your current company, now is the time to voice your interest in it! Schedule time with your supervisor to discuss your career plans and the positions you've identified that will help you to achieve your goals. Ask what may be required of you in order to be considered for those next roles. Solicit their feedback on what skills you may need to further develop in order to not only obtain the role, but to be successful.
Additionally, if there are projects or new initiatives coming up that would help you build the skills you need or put you one step closer to your next career move, take the initiative to ask your boss about participating in those opportunities!
3. Get a Mentor.
You don't have to navigate your career journey alone. Seek out good counsel from one or more individuals you can trust, regardless of whether they work at your organization or not. Your mentor should be someone who has gained more experience and has walked down the same or similar path as to where you are heading. They can provide you with the insight on roadblocks they encountered, key career experiences that opened the doors for them, and connections and resources they found helpful.
4. Build and Expand Your Network
Regardless of whether your career goals will keep you at your current company or take you to another organization, networking will prove critical to you achieving success. If you know what division of your company you want to get into next, start establishing relationships with the teams there. Set up informal meetings with their management and get involved in cross-department projects that will allow you to interact with colleagues in the group more frequently.
If you are venturing outside of your company, tap into your existing network to see what doors they may be able to open for you. They may be able to introduce you to decision-makers at your desired companies. Leverage your professional association or social organization memberships to connect with others who have similar interests and career paths. Speak with your mentor about connections they have and introductions they would be willing to make on your behalf.
5. Tap Into Social Media.
Everyone knows that LinkedIn is the premier professional social network, so you can find just about anyone in any industry to connect with and establish a relationship. However, while most people use them for fun, don't discount platforms like Twitter and Facebook either. Career opportunities are presented through those platforms on a daily basis, and many companies have personnel who post on their behalf and interact with their followers. Specific job links as well as special company events and information sessions may be posted on those platforms as well.
The bottom line is, the more platforms you use, the more chances you have at making the right connections to catapult your career forward!
For more information about Julia Rock, check out Rock Career Development or follow her on Instagram.
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