Coming to Your Career Senses
Career men and women: if you love what you do but are unhappy in your current work environment, it’s time to redefine your approach. With the underemployed workforce hitting record levels, there truly couldn’t be a better time to start looking at the business of “You, Inc.” differently.
Whether you feel that your work is underpaid, underappreciated, or you’ve simply outgrown your position, I’m here to tell you not to settle for less when it comes to your livelihood. In order to earn that promotion or transition seamlessly into a new company culture, it’s important that you have what it takes to win over employers – career sense. Career sense is a realistic understanding of how your background can directly impact the growth of an organization. That means taking a self-directed approach to enhance your toolbox (skills and experience), ensuring that every move you choose makes sense to your end goal. Get out of the one-industry-for-life mindset and take an entrepreneurial approach to your career.
In our tumultuous economic climate, employers often fail to communicate their needs and expectations to employees and job seekers alike. In my book, No More Bad Advice, I explain how the job market has evolved, from our society’s dependence on progressive technology to employment demands shifting away from mainstream jobs. If you are looking for a new opportunity at a growing corporation or a step up within your industry, it’s important to understand how your specialty has evolved and what the market needs are. The employment game is no longer what it used to be – you must approach it from scratch with a new outlook and a blank canvas.
How You Can Stay on Top of the Employment Game
1) Read up on job market changes. Although it’s crucial to educate yourself on skills that can enhance your background, follow thought leaders within your industry, and research growing companies, you need to first start with the basics. Research will be useless to the improvement of your professional future unless you change your career mindset. If you don’t think outside the box, you’ll miss out on opportunities to transfer your skills in ways you hadn’t thought of, such as Nursing Informaticist. If your company were having a hard time filling a certain role, would they train you? Think about what a free education could do for your resume. Don’t wait for someone to seek you out; get creative and seek out advancement opportunities on your own.
2) Create a vision board. A vision board is a great tool for advancing your professional future and keeping you on track. By adding new ideas, research, and positive mantras, you are reminding yourself of your career goals each day. Even simply seeing them forces you to acknowledge the promises you made to yourself – that’s a powerful thing. If you maintain a going-through-the-motions work mindset, you’ll be guaranteed one thing: not to survive our competitive work world. Use whatever motivational tool you can think of to keep you going.
3) Start a career journal. Employers want to know how you can help solve their problem, but most people fail to keep track of measurable proof that demonstrates how they impacted an organization. You need to be able to effectively show them how your background and transferable skills will grow their business. Candidates always tell me they feel uncomfortable “bragging about themselves,” but if you carry an organic conversation about you professional accomplishments, it’ll be very difficult for you to achieve success. A career journal could be the first step to realizing how you have contributed to an organization or opportunities for improvement. Get out of your head that you’re working for “the man” because we all are independent contractors. This exercise will provide a great foundation for an updated resume.
4) Communicate with your current employer. When I speak with new recruits, they unload all the reasons way they are leaving their current employer. “I need a new challenge.” “I want more money.” “I was passed over for a promotion.” Whatever their reason, 9 out of 10 admit that they haven’t shared their unhappiness with their supervisor and are often surprised that transparency is even an option. It reminds me of “the old days” when we were afraid that if we spoke up, we’d be fired. Speaking to your superior should be the first step to getting out of your job rut. Whether you speak up in a performance review or take the initiative and schedule a meeting yourself, taking control of your future begins with being honest with yourself and your employer. Chances are if you present it right, they’ll listen.