Ready, Aim – Hired!

Monday, October 13th, 2008 - career coaching, career management, Employment, job offers, job search, recruitment, redundancy

Ready, Aim – Hired!

mike takes aim

In career management, the simple answer is – you never know where that next opportunity will be coming from, so you can never be too ready to be hired.

Yes, you can over plan a career, and not recognise the next opportunity for what it is. There is never too long or too short in a job, it just makes it more difficult to explain on your CV! So your first question should always be “how would this look on my CV” if you are offered a job opportunity.

Successful Career Management

So, what are the steps you should be taking for successful career management:

  1. Life, family and friends first, career second – how ever great, wonderful or fulfilling your career is, your life and your family/friends must always come first. When the chips are down or gone, they will always support you
  2. Have a life plan – I know to some it still sounds daft, but have a life plan – yes, even if it is written on the back of a cigarette packet. You can’t think on your death bed “blow, should have done that” so write it down and get out and do it. Have a balance of goals which include a few “everyone does that” experiences and a few “I know I won’t get life insurance for that” adrenaline days. Life is for living
  3. Have a career plan – inside your life plan, the balance between work and play, write down a career plan. Yes, it can be as simple as something which fits on a few lines, but I have often found the best career plans that result in action are developed through answering three questions: I like this; I don’t like that; I quite like X’s job (where X is a named person). If you look at how X got to their job, it will give you a good path to gain idea’s from, the questions they answered in their own career, and a potential route to follow
  4. Write down your full academic and career history – dates, places, results, managers, major customers, lecturers, contacts, etc. Write a paragraph or two of history on each period. Some develop this into a personal record or diary, while others carve that down to a portfolio
  5. Go have a chat – with friends, with family, with almost anyone but your boss and anyone in your management chain (they will see this as an “I’m unsatisfied, I’m off” signal.) See what you friends think of your plan
  6. A bit of reflection – take time to reflect on their answers and pointers. Always go back and amend the plan in light of their comments, as they are your friends/family they will know you best. Go round this loop as many times as you want, but if its more than three then perhaps you are just being too unrealistic
  7. Words and Image – now you have a plan, your career plan need to be reflected in your public words and image. So amend your public portfolios – like your LinkedIn or Xing profiles for instances, or your VisualCV – to reflect your goals and ambitions. Also, have a CV/Resume written which reflects the new goals you have, and that you could send to almost anyone TODAY if you got approached (of course, you never would send it today, but it makes it easier to amend)
  8. Meet with your boss – now you can sit down with your boss at your next quarterly review (you do have one? If you don’t, make sure you are scheduling one) and outline your career goals for the next year, and how you would like to reach them inside his company. Only if you are planning a massive career change, will this step not be necessary – in which case, start the job or university application process. Many employees are totally surprised when they approach employers with new career plans, and the employer turns around and says “We’ll help you.” Why is this? Employers want motivated employees, and the number who just turn up at best 9-5/M-F to do a mediocre job is scary if you are a boss or a manager. Hence, anyone who suddenly goes “I’m taking charge of my life, I have these goals” is suddenly transformed in the employers eyes and mind – how ever bad their previous record/relationship
  9. When you get approached – and it will only be a matter of time, as these modern online tools spot not only skills and competencies but also ambition, you now know what you are/are not looking for. Explain to the employer/recruiter what your goals are, and hence how you will judge their opportunity. Just for saying that you will be more attractive to them – see notes in point8 on existing employees – and the ones who conclude you are their person will pursue you harder and be easier to negotiate with
  10. Regularly review your plan – a plan is only as good as its depth, its concurrence, and its implementation when required. So regularly, at least twice a year, pull it out and read it/review it.

It is a simple mantra, but being prepared allows you more time to make better decisions that help you reach your goals and your potential. Just follow these simple steps, and you will never have an unsuccessful career – you will have a fulfilled life.

Good Luck!


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