Don’t just sit there and wait for your career to happen!

There use to be a time when companies would partner up with their employees’ and jointly put a plan in action for career planning, development and succession, but I am afraid that those days are behind us.  More and more companies are coming to view the whole notion of career management as something of the employee’s responsibility.  In this changing world of downsizing, restructuring, buyouts and mergers, you must be in the driver’s seat of your career, not your company.

So, what is this notion of career management and are you managing your own career successfully?

Career management is the lifelong process of matching your current and foreseeable career needs with the options available to you, and re-evaluating your plans as necessary. It is the planning and managing of your career over a lifetime. It is important to note that career management is not a singular event but a continuing process that is a necessity for adapting to the changing demands of our current economy.

Benefits of Career Management

  • ·         Brings your career into focus
  • ·         Links life goals with career goals
  • ·         Creates a feeling of personal achievement
  • ·         Accomplishes what you really want, providing a sense of lasting fulfillment
  • ·         Creates more self-awareness: knowing your values, interests, aptitudes, talents and abilities
  • ·         Spotlights your special talents
  • ·         Reduces the frustration of not knowing what to do with your life/career
  • ·         Motivates you to take advantage of valuable learning opportunities
  • ·         Enhances your lifecycle
  • ·         Creates more self-confidence and greater self-esteem
  • ·         Provides a healthy balance between work and play

Many career experts agree that the best time to look for a new opportunity is while you are still comfortably in your current one.  If you are starting to feel unchallenged, you may be ready for advancement. If there is a lack of opportunities for career advancement in your current organization, the next best job may be waiting for you elsewhere.  To get ahead of your competition and to stay ahead of them one must excel at career management. Career success does not just happen because people are good at their job; that is expected of all employees.

Many people believe they practice good career management tactics, but in actuality this is not the case. People lack the initiative to evolve, fail to optimize their skills and competencies or they fail to prepare for change. 

There are two main components of career management:

1.       Setting Realistic and Meaningful Goals

These goals recognize current personal situations, workplace realities and most importantly, the individual desire to gain a sense of control over one’s career

2.       Development Planning

Develop specific competencies which may include striving to obtain knowledge, skills, a specific personal attribute, or experience.

To practice good career management one must first understand themselves: What have I done? What have I achieved? What skills did I need to make this happen? What helped me? Who helped me? Next, evaluate their potential: List six strengths. List six weaknesses. Which, if any, of my skills are transferable? What contributions have I made that were valued? What core skills have I developed? What additional skills will I need for my plan? Thirdly, understand the competition:  Check current market trends. Read professional journals. Look at job advertisements. Consult a recruitment professional. Look at each level of the market. Determine how you might differentiate your offer from others. Evaluate and compare the skills and competencies of your colleagues.  Lastly, access best fit: Am I a part of the right networking group? Do I belong to the right professional organization? Am I seen as a giver (contributor) or a taker? What label suits me best (e.g. free lancer, free worker, consultant, outsource provider? Do I need a new (invented) label?

Where do you want to be in one, three, five or ten years from now? Do you have an action plan to get there? What career options are available to you to get a greater challenge? How well do you leverage your strengths and networks to advance your career? Are you using the latest job search strategies so that you can stand out in a crowd? In other words, how well do you manage your career?

Don’t just sit back and think that someone is going to give you an opportunity, Get out there and create your own!

Jennifer Weiler is the Co-founder  at  ProperSeach, and the VP, Education for IFMA Toronto. She has been supporting the Property and Facilities industry for the past ten years in the GTA. Jennifer can be reached at 647-925-2684 or jweiler@propersearch.ca