Being stuck in one’s career is one of the worst places to be.
Lot of questions. But no answers!
But in today’s times there are a variety of options to follow and myriad ways to break into the next level. The level YOU aspire to be at.
First of all, how do you know if are ready for the next level in your career? Here are a few signs:
- You feel unhappy and dissatisfied with your current work
- You’ve been at it for quite some time now
- Your work feels repetitive
- You think you can do/achieve more
- Your potential doesn’t seem to be getting utilised to the fullest
- You want more in your life and career
So what do we do?
As I said, there are so may ways to rectify the situation. Here are a few practical and useful things you can do:
1. Take stock of your experiences and skills: What have you done so far? And what are the skills you use the most? Technicals skills, soft skills, customer interaction, online communication or a mix of a few skills. What is it that you want to explore next? Do you have relevant skills required to move to the level you aspire to?
2. What are your outcome goals: More money? More travel? More exciting and challenging projects? A stint in a different country? Flexi hours? Use of a specialised skill set you own? Gradual move to a different job/position/industry? Think about it and be clear about what is it that you seek and will give you more of what you want.
3. Talk to someone: If you are confused and need a little help sorting out your thoughts, a career coach could be of great help. A coach is an objective third party who can give you an unbiased view and help you reach what’s right for you through open ended questions. Chalk out a career plan with the help of your coach so that you know the action plan and the route ahead.
If you are looking for a coach, drop me a line in the comments and get a free 20 minute chat with me
Read about How coaching can help you achieve your goals
4. Upskill yourself: New job roles usually require some new skills – at least an upgrade on the old ones. For instance, an entry level recruit may not use a whole range of skills that a new manager does. And there is no dearth of online and offline learning options to help you upgrade your skills. Choose the one that works best for you and add skills one step at a time.
5. Do better at your current job: Speak up in meetings. Take up more responsibility. Initiate projects. Build a brand for yourself that’ll help you move to the next level faster. If you love your company and the people you work with, you may want to explore growth opportunities at the same place. Set a time goal and build your brand accordingly.
6. Keep your brag bag ready: Structure your experience and your skills in a doc/file that you can take with you to discuss with your superiors or prospective employers. You will need to be honest and vain at the same time to acknowledge all the things that you’ve achieved throughout your career.
7. Talk to your superiors. Once you are clear about your goals and feel sure your superiors will support you, talk to them. Explain your goals and seek co-operation in achieving them. Discuss timelines and skills expected. Get an opinion about what your seniors think.
8. Change jobs: Sometimes one needs to move jobs to make one’s dreams come true. Don’t let nostalgia about times spent and the ties with colleagues hold you back. They can always be your friends and a strong support in pursuit of your goals. Changing jobs will need a whole new outlook and planning.
9. Brush your resume: If moving jobs is the option you are going for, re-write your resume keeping the current trends in mind. Highlight the experiences that go best to support what you want to do rather than what you have done. If you are moving industries, this will be of particular help.
10. Network: Networking is important whether or not you wish to move up in your career. Hang out with senior management during office parties. You may not be the partying kind but being seen with the right people is important. And building connections over social interactions can take your networking itself to a new level.
It is all the more important if you are seeking greener pastures. Look up relevant connections on Linkedin and re-connect with them. Make new connections that can help you. Write personalised messages to them and see what opens up.
11. Work on your executive presence: As you progress in your career, it is important to be able to speak to higher ups with confidence. And also to carry yourself with confidence. And that comes only with practice. The best person I can think of is Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada with her majestic presence. Here are a few simple and effective ways to develop executive presence.
Once you’ve decided on the right course of action for you, consider the next steps. Do you need upskilling? That’s the next step. Does your boss think you need another year or so to be ready? Are you willing to wait that long? If not, are you looking at a job change? Brush your resume. The next steps really depend on what do you want and how you want to proceed.
You are the best judge to decide the right time to move on in your career. But on the other hand, if the seniors feel that you are ready, don’t be humble and let go of that opportunity. You can work your way around and learn the skills required on the job. If they have the confidence, there must be a reason for it.
If you wish to work with a professional to sort your career goals and put together a great resume, drop me a line in the comments or feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to help you.