Things have changed in the world of work, you might have noticed! The relationship between employer and employee has fundamentally changed; nothing is forever and the increased influence of the threat of redundancy, the proliferation of zero hours contracts and benefits packages being stripped back to basics all mean that we all have to constantly be looking after our career, ourselves and our futures without the lovely kind maternal employer being there to help us to map out a career path for the next 10 years.
That means that we all have to adopt some attitudes and behaviours and develop more skills that we have not used in the past; and for some of us that might feel a bit odd.
What exactly does it mean to be your own career manager? How does it apply to the real world and the time you have available to do other things beyond working and playing?
In simple terms I would suggest that being your own career manager means:
1. never assuming anything about the future of your current role
2. always working on a Plan B
3. keeping your CV up to date and relevant (every 3-6 months)
4. keeping a constant eye on the job market in your field and location
5. maintaining a healthy network of ex-colleagues through Linked In
6. finding an agency that will be happy to work long term with you
7. never saying never to any opportunity
8. embracing the concept of competencies and focus on transferable ones
9. working on your lucid stories*
10. posting your CV confidentially on line on the most suitable job boards
11. not taking anything personally
12. owning your decisions
So what is the point of the items listed and what order should you place them in?
Some of the points in the list are more statements than call to action points. Point 1) is just about understanding the market, your place in the market and the likelihood of things changing. Businesses can merge, close down, move location, down-size, reorganise and refocus their operational output without much warning and things can happen very quickly after that. Being proactive and not reactive means you will probably be able to hit the ground running if things change; you will be ready and primed for action not staggered, shocked and unready.
Plan B is always useful. It probably includes most of the subsequent points in the list. It is short-hand I guess for keeping your options open and having thought processes in place to use when and if things change in your current role.
The rest of the list is about the how. The things that make sense for us all to do as an ongoing thing. You can call it Career MOT, Career Health-Check or just good sense! Having a set of tools to use when the time comes is crucial; the best attitude and forethought in the world falls flat if you have to start from scratch with the building blocks of your solution.
Have a CV ready to go, up to date, relevant and something you are proud of. Take a look at other blog content on here about how to do that but suffice to say that you should be revisiting this every 3-6 months and do a good job in reinventing your CV every time you review it. Make sure the Personal Statement speaks to the reader and is an authentic reflection of you and be proud of the content, own it and share it.
The rest of the list speaks for itself, *lucid stories do appear in another blog on here so have a look at that to explain the concept, that aside it is just simple common sense stuff that will put you in a the best position to respond to internal and external opportunities and to respond to changes in your work environment.
Being your own career manager is a habit, a daily / weekly / monthly habit that you get used to and which feels natural after a while. Like brushing your teeth it's something that will in the long term reap benefits.
Being your own career manager is also a state of mind. It's about accepting that nobody else is really responsible for your career, that no-one can be expected to care more than you do about it and that as the world of work changes, it is the sensible and prudent approach to work life - not letting things happen to you but instead being ready to respond to anything that comes in a positive and proactive way.
Paul Goring 2015
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