Career management involves purposeful planning, combined with active career development. It is the process of understanding yourself, identifying your career goals and your strategy and implementing them with regular review and monitoring. It is an activity that is done throughout your career from entry-level positions to senior phases. Although most of us have formal annual performance reviews with our managers, the responsibility for managing our career ultimately lies with us. It’s part of your own leadership development. Here are four things you can do to actively manage your career:
Self Awareness: People who choose jobs and careers aligned with their skills, interests and values have greater job satisfaction and success. Ask for realistic, honest feedback from your own managers, peers, colleagues, direct reports, clients, customers and beneficiaries to complement what you know. Reflect on where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there.
Craft Your Brand: Your brand is your reputation and a promise of what you will deliver rolled into one. Crafted well, it communicates your strengths, values, uniqueness and passion. There are a variety of ways you can design and develop your own personal brand so that when a suitable opportunity arises, you immediately spring to people’s minds.
Network: Don’t underestimate the power and potential of building relationships with others. From former colleagues, ex-bosses and external work contacts, sports teammates, people on the school run or members of interest groups. Networking provides the means to a strong career and also gives you a safety mechanism for the unexpected.
Manage Up: Managing up is not about “sucking up” or “letting managers off the hook” by doing their job or covering. Take some time to find out about your manager’s pressures and challenges, their strengths and weaknesses. Share your career development goals with your supervisor so they know how to get the best out of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your boss if you need it.