It’s that time in January when we take stock and decide on our resolutions for the year ahead.
So I thought it might be useful to offer my advice on what you should be doing to enhance your career in 2013.
Make time to think about your career. There is nothing more important than YOUR career. Don’t delegate it to your employer. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do you have a career plan?
If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have much chance of success. Assess your career and decide where you want to get to say in 3 years’ time; evaluate what the very best candidate for that role looks like; decide how you stack up against the best candidate and plan to close any gap between where you are and where you want to be.
2. Over the last year what new skills and knowledge you have amassed?
As a benchmark, I’d suggest you should be able to put this at around 25% better than where you were in January 2012.
3. Do you have a mentor?
This is really important because it’s about self-awareness and seeking feedback. Successful career planning depends on self-awareness. Research shows those who seek feedback and have mentors are more successful in their careers.
4. Have you taken on more responsibility in the past year?
If not, why not? You can’t afford to stand still. Seek out responsibility, it doesn’t have to be at work but personal development relies on this sort of growth. Are you up to speed with new technology? Could you take a volunteer role that would allow you to develop new skills?
Are you working in a multicultural, diverse environment? This is important because it helps us to develop learning agility. We learn most in new environments and when we have to cope with the unfamiliar. Learning agility is another key to career success.
5. Is your network sufficient for your needs?
This is not always about seeking out job opportunities but as much about gaining market intelligence; see your network as your eyes and ears in the marketplace. You need to add value as networking is about reciprocity, look for ways to help people in your network.
6. How is your personal brand strength?
Do you have advocates within your company? What do your boss’s peers say about you. Do people recommend you; are you known in the marketplace?
7. Have your management or technical skills improved in the last year?
If you are not growing then you are not making progress. In the first 18 months in a job you appreciate as an asset as your absorb information; the next 18 months are about pay-back, you are providing the ROI your employer hoped for; after that if you are not learning and growing you should moving on.
Play the game to check how you’re managing your career, it takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Play it again a few months later to check how you’re doing.
Michael Moran is chief executive of performance improvement consultancy, 10Eighty.
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