What is the difference between a career and a job? If you can answer that question you are well on the way to developing a successful career strategy.
Most of us wake up every day to the alarm clock, go through the usual morning ritual and arrive at work, as though on autopilot. Sometimes, we don’t turn off the autopilot once our workday commences and we “just going through the motions” to get a pay packet at the end of the week. This attitude is a death warrant to your chances of a real career and a big hello to the tedium of “just another boring job”.
What would a great career look like?
Careers may be planned or unplanned work life journeys.
They take many and varied forms from highly structured pursuits to a patchwork of pro-actively sought or conveniently presented opportunities. They can take many forms such as:
A ‘life sentence’.
A multi facited and /or multi phased career
More often than not, the extent to which an individual’s career will be personally fulfilling and rewarding largely depends on;
- Alignment of personal, employer and contextual values.
- Access to assignments considered to be a worthwhile contribution to overall success of the organisation and society at large.
- The opportunity to apply existing and newly acquired skills in meaningful work.
- Alignment of personal and employer goals that are meaningful and achievable.
- Commensurate performance based reward, recognition and advancement.
- Personal attitude and engagement: making the most of every opportunity to make a difference, achieve, shine and progress.
At getselected we have helped hundreds of people find their niche in life, plan their careers and assess potential career opportunities as they arise. You can access our consultants’ career planning knowledge to map out your career management plan and strategies to achieve that today. Here are a few tips:
Take responsibility for managing your own career.
This means putting some effort into working out what you want in life; things like,
- what would make you fulfilled
- what are you good at
- what are your ‘must haves’, etc.
Once you have distilled these and other self- searching questions you can take charge and set some real benchmarks and goals.
Focus on your strengths.
Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology says that for a person to be truly happy and live a meaningful life, that person must recognize their personal strengths and use these strengths for the greater good.
If this is the secret to happiness, then spend some time highlighting your strengths and sourcing ways to capitalise on these.
Create your own personal “brand”.
Create a realistic professional profile and unique selling proposition.
Taking it to the world involves among other things, being active with networking organisations, professional bodies and associations. Always endeavour to make your public profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., professional and beyond reproach. No drunken photos of your last holiday in Bali! All your public profiles should project your individual career unique selling proposition professionally.
All encounters, both in the workplace and personal, can also open all sorts of doors to learning and possible career options. Remember, networking is a powerful tool!
At getselected we have helped many people construct and utilise professional and LinkedIn profiles, enhancing your access to potential career opportunities as they arise.
Don’t buy into the workaholic hype; Focus on quality and outcome
Working long hours doesn’t necessarily mean you deserve a gold star or a raise. It can often decrease your productivity, leave you creatively drained, and can negatively affect relationships with work colleagues, friends and family.
Be measured for the quality of your output, performance and achievement!
Focus on self-awareness and self-management.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and deal with emotions felt by yourself and expressed by others in a healthy and productive manner.
Many people don’t realize that their emotions are determined by what they think, and that practical, self-management techniques exist for gaining control of feelings. Emotional intelligence involves being aware of and managing emotions within yourself and in your relationships. But before you can recognize others’ emotions and manage your relationships, you must have a firm sense of understanding and control of your own feelings.
Find a successful person who can be a trusted adviser and sounding-board in your career. Having a good mentor will enable you to test your ideas and discuss your points of view with an interested listener in a safe and confidential environment.
Become a mentor.
The experience of working with a knowledgeable and successful mentor will also serve as a training ground to enable you to develop sound mentoring behaviours and become a good mentor for others. Giving back is an important part of a career strategy. Being seen as “a go to person” is very powerful and if conducted professionally, is a great way to “showcase” your leadership qualities and capabilities.
These are just a few ideas that will help you get your career on track.