It’s no secret that how we work is changing – think more flexibility and remote connectivity. Yet most of us are still unprepared for what it means for us because we’re still encouraged to think of our careers as entering a workforce and exploring a few roles in search of something that keeps us happy until retirement.
Experts advise that it is important to look at the future of one’s career as completely fluid and adaptive; you need to get comfortable being able to shift, shape and reinvent it at multiple stages throughout your life. So, ask yourself…
WHAT: Assess your career in order to determine whether you are in a rut or holding on to an outdated, unrealistic view of it.
Nigel Nolan, Managing Consultant at career advisory service Sandbox Advisors says that a person should examine their current job and their career goals every two to three years. “The world of work is constantly changing, and the skills, qualifications and experience in demand today may not be important in two years’ time.” With automation, optimisation and technology starting to increasingly drive industry, it has a direct impact on every career, therefore it is important to verify that, says Nigel, “your career plan, career roadmap and career development plan are all still valid for the foreseeable future”.
This, he says, will challenge you to think along the lines of what may need to shift and what to do more or less of for a successful, sustainable and rewarding career.
WHY: Identify the purpose behind your need to switch jobs. Look at what may be holding you back from making certain career choices.
This is probably one of the most important questions you will ask yourself – whether the motivation to switch jobs is a move “towards” a new career or job, or to get “away from” the current career or job. “‘Away from’ motivation – for example, getting away from a boss you hate – can lead to bad decisions about the next job, and, if the primary motivator usually doesn’t enhance a person’s overall career,” says Nigel.
Construct A Plan
To know what the “next level” is for you, you need a career plan. This would run something like a roadmap that outlines the route you want your career to take and addresses any gaps in your skills, qualifications or experience for each step in your career path. “Your ‘next level’ will be the attainment of anything necessary to ‘plug the gaps’ and having an action plan to achieve that ‘next step’ in your career plan,” says Nigel.
Build your plan to execute your career leap. This includes considering all the key elements that need to be in place to make it happen.
A dream career does not happen by accident, stresses Charlotte Lim, Co-founder of job portal JobTech. Taking it to the next level requires a specific mindset. “Regardless of your profession or the career stage you’re at, it’s important to have an entrepreneurial mindset when managing one’s career,” says Charlotte. “That means actively embracing opportunities that allow one to learn and do more, to acquire new skill sets, experiences and connections.”
Tailor Your Choices
Filter your many options to find your sweet spot – the options that fit with your life circumstances, goals and willingness to take a risk. Understanding your tolerance for change and risk as it relates to your career. Identify your strengths and know how the world of work is changing to be able to identify options you can progress.
“I think that’s important in order to constantly adapt to our fast-moving and dynamic world where job roles are being displaced and redefined by technology,” says Charlotte.
If you have made the decision to switch jobs, it’s essential to clarify exactly the type of job you are targeting rather than “any job”. Being specific about the job helps focus the job search and helps you prepare better, from focusing your resume, to helping prepare yourself for interviews, says Nigel.
Next, evaluate if the job you are considering fits in with your career values: “Whether the new role would build on your current assets, skill sets, experience and knowledge; help you get closer to your aspirations; and importantly, maximise your options or follow-on opportunities so you can move on to something else as a plan B should the new move not work out,” says Charlotte.
You also want to ask yourself if the opportunity is the next logical step up as far as your career plan for the next seven or 10 years is concerned.
Job values matter just as much, says Nigel: “Values include factors such as work environment, the kind of people you want to work with, management style, benefit package, meaning, societal impact…” Consider going to trained career advisers who can help you elicit these.
Shape Your Identity
Your career identity will shift as your career progresses. It’s important to understand this and consciously cultivate an identity that works for you. It starts with understanding how you see yourself and how others see you. Only then can you work out what may need to change.
Both experts stress that people who plan their careers are definitely more successful than those who don’t. It stands to reason that when you know where you are going (or at least have a rough idea of the direction!), you are more likely to get there than someone who drifts along,” says Nigel. That, and with the right alignment of stars. But as they say: “Chance favours the prepared mind”.
TEXT: SANDHYA MAHADEVAN / ADDITIONAL REPORTING: BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / PHOTO: 123RF.COM