Career Development – how to find the right next step for you
We’ve all heard of people looking for the right ‘fit’ when it comes to hiring but what about finding the right career to ‘fit’ you? It can be difficult to decide on what you want from your career, which kind of organisation you would really love to work for or what the perfect role is for you. Knowing what guides and motivates you can help you to make good decisions about your career and ultimately help you to feel happier, as well as do a great job. Whether you’re thinking about changing roles, organisation, sector or feel stuck in a rut it can be helpful to step back and think about what you really want from your career.
Start by asking yourself what you value most.
It’s important to understand what guides your behaviour and what principles you live your life by. For example, do you really value a work-life balance and does your career allow you to have this? Are you someone who loves spending time surrounded by others but find that you are often working alone? Perhaps high quality standards are important to you but you are put under pressure to deliver quickly, so have to compromise. If your own personal values do not fit with the place that you work at, or the job you are doing, then you are less likely to have a fulfilling career. Thinking about what’s important to you as a person is important when deciding on the type of role or working environment that would suit you best.
Understand what motivates you.
Ask yourself what gets you out of bed in the morning and gives you energy to achieve your work objectives. Perhaps you are driven by targets or earning a good living. If this is the case, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re working somewhere that sets challenging goals where you can reap the rewards of your efforts. If you want to progress to a senior level then you will need to work for an organisation where there are opportunities for you to move up or stretch you out of your comfort zone to help you get more experience. Understanding what motivates you can help you to find a career that helps you to feel fulfilled and gives you a sense of satisfaction.
Have a goal in mind.
You don’t need to have all the details mapped out but having a goal or vision for the future helps to think about what you need to do in the here and now and give your career some direction. This could be working towards going freelance, setting up your own business or a shorter term goal like gaining a new skill to add to your CV. Only you can take control of your career development and if you don’t know where you are headed, how can you start to work towards it? Ask yourself what you enjoy, what you are good at and what you need to do to take the next step to reach your goal. Remember to create a goal that fits with your values and motivators.
Think about your network.
Maybe you have no idea what types of roles are even out there. Having a network of contacts that goes beyond your organisation or even sector, can be really helpful in finding out about career opportunities, or discovering new or emerging roles. A broad network will expose you to new ideas, information, and can help you connect others who may also be looking for new opportunities.
Ask for feedback.
Read more expert tips
Do you always know if you have done a good job? If someone asked you what your top strengths are, could you tell them? Both positive and constructive feedback are really important for personal development and for a successful career. Recognition of a job well done can increase satisfaction and motivation at work, helping you to achieve more challenging goals and develop your skills. Don’t be afraid of constructive feedback, learn from it. Learning is an important part of anyone’s career and helps to develop new skills that could help you take your next step. If you manage others, give them regular feedback on how they are doing, don’t leave it until their annual review or assume that they already know!
About the author – Sarah Lanvin
Sarah joined Impact following a career move from HR where she gained experience in resourcing, learning & development and employee relations and engagement. Sarah uses psychological research and theory to help businesses grow and help people to be the best that can be at work. Sarah is involved in the design and delivery of leadership, performance, talent and organisational change projects for clients across the public and private sector. She is qualified and experienced in administering and interpreting psychometric ability tests and personality questionnaires, for personnel selection and development.
Phone number: 0161 351 2290