People spend more time planning the series are going to binge watch than they do on their career. No matter what career stage you’re in- new grad, mid-career professional, executive or career changer- every year you should upgrade and refine your career strategy.
Research is indicating it’s dramatically easier to be promoted or considered for a stretch role at your current employer. When you think about your career strategy, first start with your current employer. Most of the time your current workplace may be your best bet for career advancement. External job searches and new jobs are exciting and full of risk. Many people completely backburner career development when they’re happy in their job. That’s unfortunate and not strategic. The best time to invest in your career is when you are doing well. Not when you are in a job search.
Look Internally First
If you love your job and you love your current employer – fantastic. This is the time to develop your career strategy about the next role in which you want to move and begin to acquire the required skills and credentials. One key step is to also advise your manager what your career strategy is and get their insight. But only if your manager is someone you trust, who has demonstrated that they are focused on development, mentoring and coaching and will work with you. If you work for a bad or merely mediocre manager, there is significant risks with divulging that you have a career strategy and may want to be considered for a transfer.
Get a Raise
Most studies show that most Americans are not happy in their current job and that they are always looking for the next best thing. Most of that is because merit increases average 2-3% annually. That is if you even received an increase. 44% of Americans did not even receive a raise in 2019.
If you have been falling behind on compensation, the best way to make up for lost wages is to change jobs. You are more likely to be paid at market if you move to another employer because many states now prohibit requiring candidates from confirming their current compensation. If you change jobs internally, many times there are limitations to the salary increase that you can receive.
Get a New Manager
Sadly, many employers have not developed hiring managers to truly excel at managing people and teams. For that reason, many Americans are dissatisfied and know that they can do better. Your manager should be someone who coaches, mentors and inspires you. If for whatever reason that is not happening, it’s critically important to pay attention. Do something about it.
Update Your Resume
Every quarter, you need to update your resume. It’s hard to be able to move quickly with the job search if somebody approaches you about a potential role if you need two weeks to get that resume updated. Think of your resume as your go forward marketing tool that should always be constantly refurbished.
Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your career web page. It is not you from a year or two years ago let alone 5 years ago. As always, content gets stale and skills no longer in demand by employers need to be deleted off your profile. On LinkedIn, pay special attention to the summary section at the top and updating the skills section. You can delete most of your prior jobs and just keep the last three to five years of employment experience. LinkedIn needs to be laser focused on your current toolkit, not a recitation of what you did in the past.
Get a New Certification
It’s critically important that you review the skills and experience required for your next step. Many times, you lack a required certification, software, or training and that is what may be holding you back. It’s good to go get it proactively before you need it for a job. You may find that you can literally not move forward without a required certification.
Hire a Career Therapist
When we are stuck in our emotional and personal lives, we go to therapy. Why don’t working professionals invest in this type of expertise when it comes to their careers? I notice that most professionals wing it when it comes to job search, career planning and it gets much worse as they get older. This is a profoundly dangerous dynamic, because older workers have the high percentage of long term unemployment.
Invest in your career but getting help before you ever need it. Why wait until you are unemployed or facing impending joblessness to get an expert’s advice?