When you are early in your career its normal to take the first offer you receive, and for a few years, you probably jump every year or so with the objective of gaining skills, experience and earning more money. But at some point in the first decade of your working life you will probably tire of jumping around and start to think about the bigger picture. Here is how to make that shift from job to career.
1. What fills you up?
Step one of moving from job to career is to define what it is about your work that is personally satisfying. What activities do you enjoy? When you have your best day, what happens? How do you spend your time? Who do you interact with? I’d suggest taking inventory of your current and past jobs to compile a top 10 list of what components of your work fill you and which leave you wanting more.
2. How do you want others to see you?
If you ask your partner / parents / friends how to describe your work – what do they say? Do they see you through the same lens as you see yourself? Are you projecting the best you into the world? Are you excited to talk about your accomplishments and who you are professionally, or do you feel timid or embarrassed about your work? If you don’t like how you are showing up to others, then it’s time to make a change!
3. What is your end game?
Sometimes its easier to see where you want to end up and work backward from there. Do you want to be a CEO one day? Do you want to travel internationally? Do you want to lead a large team? Once you have a clear picture of your end game, then it’s time to figure out what skills, experience and competencies you need in order to achieve it. How will you acquire these necessities? Do you need additional education? Do you need a mentor to guide your development? Do you need a certification or other professional designation? How many years will this process take? Consider building a project plan or drafting a timeline with action items and objectives to help guide your path.
4. It’s not all about the money
At the point you begin to look beyond your paycheck and figure out that money won’t buy your happiness in the long term, you’re ready to begin carving your career. What do you consider essential components of work that makes you happy? People, location, daily activities and leadership all play into what energizes you. Take time to give weight to the intangible pieces of your career that give you pleasure and design your career path with these in mind.
5. Do I need to leave my current job to begin my career?
Moving from job to carving a career starts with reframing how you look at your work. It is possible to begin this transition without leaving your current position. As a matter of fact, this is precisely the right time to leverage your current role for some additional skill building, new responsibilities, exposure to new leadership development – and the list goes on. The current economy is surfacing a dire need to nurture and grow current talent within companies, and employers are responding positively. So if you like parts of your current role, and with a little tweaking would be really happy, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your manager to talk about these things.
If you are serious about moving from job to career, then you need to think strategically about the move. Unscrupulously applying to positions in an effort to see what might happen is time wasted. The better option is to focus your efforts on positions that are an ideal match for where you are going as a professional and stay true to your objective. For more thoughts on how conduct a strategic search, visit us here!