11 career tips for getting back on track to a better job

Whether you are in a job that you enjoy or are feeling a bit stale or stuck in, adopting some of the following career management strategies will help you gain momentum:

Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow. Robert Kiyosaki

1) Take a pro-active stance in being your own career manager.  If you are waiting for someone else to spot your talents and capabilities, you could be waiting forever. Become your own career manager and take action.

2) Do a realistic talent audit.  Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Get feedback from those close to you at work and home about your strengths and weaknesses.  A 360-degree feedback exercise can be very helpful here. Building on your strengths,  especially ones you enjoy,  is vital but take in  areas for development as well. If 5 out of 6 people are stating that you need to pay attention to your listening skills, they can’t all be wrong and this clearly points to the need for developmental action on your part.

3) Have your own vision and goals of what you want out of this job.  Have a few goals that will happen as part of the job rather than having to do something extra. For example, “ I want to increase my network of people who may be good mentors for me in the future. I will do this by …..(action) …..developing and maintaining good relations with my manager, workmates and customers.”

4)Identify roles that appeal to you and talk to the people in these jobs to see how they match with your ‘take’ and what they really do on a day to day basis.

5) Talk to your manager and communicate your goals and desires.  Get feedback as to what skills and competencies you need to develop in your current role and which will help you towards aiming for the next role.

6) Be aware there is a fine line between communicating your career aspirations in a positive and empowering way and being ‘visible’ versus being overly pushy and aggressive.  Ginny (not real name), a Gen Y-er, had to learn this distinction.  Whilst she felt she was being underpaid, her continuing discussions with her immediate manager about pay did not help her case.  She was labelled as being unreasonable and too focused on money.

7) Sound out your thinking and approach with trusted colleagues, friends or mentors when you have to take up a matter with your manager. It can be hard to see issues objectively when you have a lot invested in it.

8) Keep a perspective on your career track.  It takes time to build up experience, credibility and respect and these things do not happen overnight.  As a CEO said about his GM who I was coaching,  “He has now proved himself to get the recognition that he has been wanting so much.”

9) Be strategic in the jobs that you aim for.  Applying for jobs like spaghetti shows a lack of consideration and planning on your part.  The jobs you are likely to succeed in are those that match your knowledge, skills, interest, abilities and values.

10)  The SQ view is that an alignment of values between who you are and what really matters to you is critical in having job satisfaction and fulfilment.  If there is a values clash, no matter how many perks the job has, ultimately it will not be sustainable.

11) If you do end up applying for your ideal job and are unsuccessful the first time, try not getting dispirited for too long.  Use it as a learning opportunity and get feedback you can use next time around.

Jasbindar Singh is a coaching psychologist and author of “Get your groove back.”

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