I’m going to start this blog off by saying you are never too old to take control of your career. Careers are fluid things; they change and evolve over time. So, if you’ve been at your job for years and think there’s nothing more you can do, think again.
I’m a CEO, and I’m constantly looking for ways to grow my business, to make it better or offer more to my customers. You should be thinking the same way when it comes to your career. There should be a strategic plan for your career similar to a strategic plan for a company. Think of your career as a business. It’s “You Inc.”
Start with your long-term personal and professional goals.
If you don’t have them, get some. Without an idea of where you are going, you could easily wander aimlessly through your professional life. Even if your full, long-term vision isn’t complete, try to think five to 10 years out. Where do you want to be? What position do you want to hold? What skills do you want to perfect? Then, start detailing how you can get there. In some cases, it may mean making a lateral career move rather than an upward one. That’s okay! Lateral moves can give you the experience you need to get you to that next step. Don’t devalue them.
Next, take control of your brand.
Determine what makes you unique and be true to that. IMPACT Group’s brand is all about helping people build and grow great careers. Everything we do considers this message. Once you’ve determined your brand, leverage it. Leverage it in everything you do – when you are looking for a job, going about your day to day or figuring out your next step up the ladder.
Once you understand your brand, you need to market it.
Businesses have customers — people who have the power to buy what they are selling. In your career, your customers are your network. The internet age has made it easier than ever to stay connected with influential people. Strategize on how best to connect to the people who can influence your career (or help you land that job you want!). And don’t forget to own your brand! Who you know and what they know about you matters.
Lastly, actively pursue opportunities.
As a CEO, I know no one is going to hand me new customers or million-dollar deals (although, that would be amazing!). I have to actively pursue them. In your career, don’t rely on your manager to hand you opportunities for growth. Your career is your responsibility, not your boss’s or the company’s. No one cares about your career as much as you do, so go get it!
CEOs run their businesses with the mindset that there’s always room to do more. Set yourself up for success by running your career the same way a CEO runs her business. “No matter how senior you get in an organization, no matter how well you’re perceived to be doing, your job is never done.” – Abigail Johnson, President & CEO of Fidelity Investments.