Fall Career Planning Guide
Leadership Coach Katie Kelley says that despite today's challenging economy you can still strategize your next career move.
1) Ask for feedback. Beside your paycheck, the most important benefit you can gain from your current job is feedback on your performance and insights on your strengths and weaknesses. And incidentally, before you consider your next job, it would be wise to ensure that you are exceeding expectations currently, especially if you are expecting a reference.
3) Do a gut check. A simple question that you can ask yourself was quipped by my colleague Marsha Shenk and that is, “What would have you delighted a year from now?” If you are still feeling stumped by this question, an easy exercise is to sent a poll to your friends and family whom you believe know you best and ask them what they think your ‘remarkable differences’ are, in other words what you are uniquely talented in doing and being. You can even ask them what occupations or roles they think you would be best suited for.
4) Identify a mentor. A mentor is typically a professional who has already accomplished the same type of professional success you aspire to yourself. Ideally, this person agrees to act as a mentor for you and provides you with insights and guidance on your own career strategy and journey. However, sometimes people can act as mentors for us without even knowing that they are acting in this role. The point is that you have someone who is providing an example or a blueprint if you will that you can design your own journey around. A mentor is different from a coach or a consultant in that they sometimes can be called upon to make an introduction for you or vouch for you as you apply for a particular position or opportunity. Two Portland organizations that have a mentor program are Mercy Corps and The Link. Also, if this is something that you are interested in at your workplace, don’t hesitate to inform your boss or your Human Resource Department that you are interested in being assigned a mentor.
5) Develop Your Career Timeline with S.M.A.R.T. goals. Now it is time to take all this information that you have gathered and plug it into some kind of a timeline, spreadsheet or calendar so that you can shift in to the action part of this exercise. I always advise clients to sketch out an overall progression of how they are going to shift from their current role or occupation to where they ultimately want to be. Once they have an overall path sketched out of what the need to do to make this leap, I then ask them to break each step into S.M.A.R.T. goals. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Reasonable and Timely. So for example, rather than just writing down a general goal of “Improve my capacity to network”, I would suggest that the person sets this one goal to be a series of S.M.A.R.T. sub-goals, such as:
1) Create my 30, 60 and 90 second elevator pitch by September 15th