Become the CEO of Your Career
You deserve a career that helps you grow, leaves you feeling fulfilled, and that makes you excited to get up for work in the morning. With bills and other responsibilities to consider, it’s easy to get stuck at a job you don’t love and that doesn’t help you advance your career. The good news is, it’s never too late to make a change and take charge of your career. The even better news is that there are ways to make it achievable and people who can help. Read on to learn some basic steps to take if you want to take charge of your career.
Take Time to Reflect
The first step in taking charge of your career is taking time to reflect on yourself and all of the experiences that brought you to this current moment. Ask yourself, when was the last time I was happy at work? Maybe a job that you no longer have comes to mind. If you have a job in mind, think hard about how it felt to work there. Visualize what you loved in particular so that you can try to find those qualities in future jobs. Maybe the answer to the question is that you’ve never been happy at work, and that is perfectly fine. The important thing to remember is that by taking charge of your career, you can align yourself with a position that finally makes you feel happy. You should also think about the things you love to do. Is there any overlap between those things and jobs you’ve worked in the past? By identifying things you love to do, you are also identifying strengths and skills you rarely consider. Finally, think about the things that you didn’t love at your old jobs. Maybe you were underpaid, underappreciated, overworked, or some combination of the three. Maybe you genuinely did not like the kind of work you were doing. Once you know what you do not want, you can take steps to avoid those qualities in your future career.
Keep What Works, Ditch What Doesn’t
Taking charge of your career does not necessarily mean changing companies. It could mean setting yourself up for a promotion or a raise at a job you like or adding different responsibilities to your day-to-day. Regardless, now that you have done the important work of identifying the last job that made you happy, why it made you happy, and things that haven’t made you happy at other jobs, you can mindfully keep what works and ditch what doesn’t. It’s as simple as it sounds. Look for jobs and opportunities that are compatible with the things you like and don’t apply for jobs that raise red flags. Part of this process is also being self-reflective. Think about what you bring to your current job or what you brought to your last job. What did you do particularly well and what were your worst work habits? If you are a great communicator, keep that quality. It will serve you well in pretty much any job. If you were habitually late to work, ditch that as fast as you can. It takes hard work to take charge of your career, but if you prioritize the good and reduce the bad, it can be a bit easier.
Build Your Network
To take charge of your career, start building your network. Fill it with people you look up to, including past mentors. If you don’t currently have a mentor, find one. A mentor will be a role model who can help you navigate the workplace and reach your career goals. You also never know when someone you met in passing might be an invaluable resource to you in the future. Make sure that you make good impressions on the people you meet, respect people’s time, and act in an authentic way. It’s very helpful to have people in your corner rooting for you and inspiring you as you take charge of your career.
Look to the Future
When taking charge of your career, don’t just focus on what tomorrow will bring. Think several steps ahead and set goals to keep you on track. When you set goals, you can look to the future while staying motivated in the present. It is easy to fall off course when you don’t see the rewards of the work you’ve done right away. By looking to the future, you can remind yourself what you are working toward, why it is important to you, and what you still have left to do to get there.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Taking charge of your career is a pretty major life change. Luckily, there are talented folks out there who genuinely want to see you succeed and are uniquely talented at helping you figure out how to do so. Professional career coaches and strategists can help you find a career you love at the salary you deserve. When you start taking steps to take charge of your career, don’t be afraid to ask for help, including by connecting with a career strategist.
Alicia Perkins is a professional Career Strategist and Resume Writer. She empowers unfulfilled and underpaid professionals to move confidently and strategically into rewarding careers. Alicia is excited to help you plan and execute your next career move every step of the way.