Challenge yourself

Looking through the People on the Move pages of Conference News, got me
thinking that, even in the most turbulent times, smart professionals
remain sought after and will find opportunities to land a more
deserving job. Yet the temptation for most is simply to ‘get on with
it’, putting up with a dissatisfying job or career.
This is the perfect time to challenge your present position and explore
what’s out there. This may not mean dropping your current position at
once, but rather taking the time to consider questions such as ‘How did
I get where I am?’ and ‘How can I make the most of my talent?’.
Answering these questions will help you prepare for the future,
understand what you really want and how you may achieve it. You may
have to go back to basics but, more often than not, this will reveal
some surprising facts about you and could point to the way forward.
Here are some practical tips on career manage-ment and develop-ment.

SWOT Yourself!
Assessing yourself and the combination of your
‘strengths/weaknesses/ opportunities/ threats’ is important not only
for understanding yourself, your potential and what you want out of
life, but also to avoid your career being shaped by accident rather
than what you ‘really’ want.
For instance, the interests and goals you had in your twenties and
thirties may well have changed as a result of starting a family. Free
self-assessment tools are often available online and will enable you to
ascertain where the opportunities may lie.

Have a personal career plan (and review it regularly)
Successful
people are careful planners. Although luck can play a role, setting
short, intermediate and long term objectives is the secret of personal
and professional advancement. One word of warning: you may have to take
some risks along the way. Working hard may no longer be enough to
maximise your career potential.

The only way is up?
Promotion is one way of developing your
career but not the only one. You could be enriching your experience by
moving sideways or even downwards, in order to acquire new skills. This
may represent a stepping stone for something much more important. Look
out for secondments, transfers, job shadowing and other similar
opportunities within and outside your current environment. Another
option might be to use these skills and experience to go ‘solo’.

Embrace learning
The industry is changing all the time, affected by world economy,
technology, business needs etc. Keeping your knowledge up-to-date and
appreciating these changes means improving your capabilities.

Find one or more mentors
We can all benefit from the
experience and knowledge of people who have been in situations similar
to ours. Mentors are professionals with considerable experience in one
or more sectors willing to help others by sharing their experience and
by helping their mentees identify and implement solutions to their
specific issues. One in five chief executives claims having a mentor
was critical for success. So why don’t you look for one.

Keep networking
Networking goes a long way towards helping
you develop and manage your career. Anyone you meet could play an
important role in your next move. Stay connected with your contacts. Do
not hesitate to ask people in your network about others who can help
you get what you need and return the favour whenever you can.

Keep your CV current and up-to-date
If you are interested in
changing career you may want to redesign your CV to emphasise skills
and achievements that are related to the career that you desire. If you
decide to apply for more than one position you may need to write more
than one CV. As well as the summary of your personal and professional
development, view your CV as the ‘business case’ for you getting that
job you want.

Be positive and focused
Often we are our worst enemies and
put up plenty of barriers as to why we cannot achieve certain career
and personal goals. The responsibility for your career rests ultimately
with yourself, so being focused on your career goals is key to success.

Alessandra Alonso is director of Shine People & Places, a
consultancy that helps companies and individuals achieve their best
potential. She can be contacted on: a.alonso@shinepeopleandplaces.co.uk

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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