The first step in managing your career is to really assess and evaluate yourself. This is an introspective look at what interests and motivates you, the strengths you bring to your work, your limitations or development needs, your career accomplishments, and your future goals.
Depending on your job or profession, you will need to ensure that both your hard and soft skills are in demand and of value to the organization and/or marketplace. Taking the time to learn which skills your industry is currently seeking or recruiting for is one way of understanding what areas you may need to invest time and/or money on.
This process of evaluation should be an ongoing journey that never stops, even when you have finished school or mastered a skill. You will always have to re-evaluate to ensure that your skills are up to date and in demand. You will have to take the time to understand not only what the company you work for values, but also what is considered valuable by the job market. You can accomplish this on an ongoing basis speaking to recruiters, reviewing job boards, and if you are currently working, becoming curious about your current company’s competitors - what type of skills and attributes do they require from their employees?
Here are 4 strategies that you can use to help you gain insight about yourself and help you manage your career:
- Do self-assessments
- Ask for feedback from managers, work colleagues, your network
- Examine past performance reviews for insight
- Journal your accomplishments – did the project or accomplishment inspire and/or interest you where you aligned with the work and the accomplishment?
Use the above mentioned strategies to help you manage your career and evaluate your skills on an ongoing basis -- preferably once a year; during times of transition with the company or in the marketplace; and when you're not feeling aligned with your current work. Below are some examples of ideal opportunties for you to re-evaluate your skill set:
- If the reporting structure of the company changes and you find yourself with a new manager, you will have the opportunity to review your skills and attributes based on what he/she determines is needed for the business.
- On-going transition in business, mergers and acquisitions will also give you the opportunity to ask or research what the new expectations are for employees.
- The ever-changing marketplace (new technology and processes, emerging markets and businesses) require your skills and motivators to be in line with the expectations of the marketplace and the expectations of the employer.
- During times that you are feeling you are not aligned to your work and need to reconnect with what is important and what drives and inspires you.