How much effort have you put into planning your career? Have you set goals? Defined who you are and made a plan? If not, then who is managing your career?

Who is managing your career?

Increased levels of automation coupled with advances in technology and the changing shape of the job market means that a “job for life” doesn’t exist any more.

With all this change, one needs to be mindful of “career planning”. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

The old model of career advancement used to work like this: you’d do your time, wait your turn, then when your boss retired you’d move up the ladder.

Well, the reality is that today’s careers are not one dimensional. Think of your career as a lattice, rather than up and down like a ladder. Today, your next job may have very different goals for you. It could be a gap filler, an opportunity to build strengths or networks through a lateral move, or to learn more about a new industry or sector.

Career goals are not necessarily defined by traditional notions of advancement. You may be interested in gaining a variety of experiences, or be perfectly happy doing your current job and just want to develop in that role. Whatever you do, you’ll need a plan, because career confident individuals often have an edge. In general, they know what they’re good at. They understand their skills and they continue to develop them. Moreover, they have worked out their personal brand - in other words, the attributes and skills that they want to be known for, and they are seeking to develop a reputation for these. Heather Carpenter, author of Your 21st Century Career, sums up this notion of reputation rather succinctly:

“Reputation is a key asset in 21st century careers, and it makes sense to ensure that you are known for the assets that you have; that your reputation accurately portrays what you have to offer.”

So how is it achieved? How do we get from where we are in our career to where we want to be? Below is a FOUR step process that I share with many clients:

1.     Know yourself - You first need to know where you are at – establish your career priorities, your strengths, and what you like and don’t like in a job.

2.    Know where you are going - The next step is to figure out your goal. Where do you want to be? Will the next job take you in that direction?

3.    Know the steps to get there - You need a practical plan for how you are going to get to your goal. Actions could include such activities as study, gaining relevant experience, or using a mentor or coach.

4.    Take action - As the saying goes, ‘if you do what you’re always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”. Take action and keep moving. Remember that the action might not necessarily be forwards on your career lattice. And lastly, make sure your CV is up to date and effectively represents you and your assets.


Andrea Bankier is a senior consultant at Sheffield South Island. Her original article on LinkedIn can be found here..

Andrea can be reached here.


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