Have you ever asked yourself, “when is the right time to make that next career move?” Is it time to push for that promotion within your current company or is it time to look to move on to another company to advance your career? Do you just wait until opportunities present themselves or just let things happen and become a victim of circumstance?
Most people have career aspirations but most do not do anything about them unless there is some trigger that raises it as a priority. The trigger could be a manager you don’t get along with, being passed over for a promotion, a change in comp plan, a company that is not growing, a change in your personal life, realizing that your career has hit a plateau, or being laid off.
The truth is you can’t just let things happen or wait until the right opportunity comes along. If you do you it is likely you won’t even be aware of some very attractive opportunities or be fully ready to take advantage of them. This is why it is so important to be introspective and honest with yourself on what it is you want, what you are willing to do to attain it, and your level of commitment in sticking with it and making it happen.
There is a proven process that can help you set the course you can follow to turn your ambition into reality.
• Know Yourself – Gain clarity on your core values, strengths and weaknesses, skill sets and gaps through self-assessment and 360 degree feedback
• Goals and Mission – Define your personal mission statement and career goals and the requirements to attain them.
• Take Action – Determine specific action plan to fill all gaps identified. Include who, how and by when.
• Explore Options – Define your key criteria for any new opportunities including market and industry trends. Identify target companies that fit your requirements.
• Sell Yourself – Develop your personal brand and a sales and marketing plan to create visibility and demand for your capabilities.
Early in my career I was totally opportunistic in terms of job possibilities and pursued almost anything that came my way without any consideration of whether it was really a fit for me or my long term goals. By employing the process above I stopped wasting time and energy and took control of my career and my life. I had a plan based on who I am, what I wanted and how I was going to get there.
My advice is don’t wait for something to happen, make it happen, now.
“Great things may come to those who wait, but only those things left by those who hustle.”
– Abraham Lincoln