How many jobs do you look out into the future? If you don’t plan for the next 2 or 3 jobs, you’re making short-term decisions at the expense of your long-term goal. These next few jobs should prepare you to advance your career in the most expeditious way.
Always look ahead to your next move, even though that move may be years away. It concentrates your activities to optimize the experiences you need to take you to the next level. Your next move might be in your current organization, another department, a different company or another industry. Prepare yourself. Here are some simple rules to follow:
Stay aware of the marketplace: Know what’s going on in your field while keeping your name and background accessible through your social media vehicles. Look for trends that can leverage your career. Understand the direction of the marketplace over the next few years.
Keep your network alert: Make the connections to those “in the “know” that you are available for the right position. These are past bosses or those at a level who can influence a hiring decision. Join associations and attend conferences where you can expand your network.
Understand your value: Keep your finger on the pulse of the value you bring to a company. Pay is almost always tied to contribution. Have the evidence of your ability to impact the financial results of the business, whether through revenue, cost, efficiency or performance.
Look 2 or 3 jobs out: Your next job, whatever it is, is the entryway to a higher responsibility. Make sure it’s not a “dead end” job or one that will take you away from your ultimate goal. Are you looking to deepen your career (vertically) or broaden your career (horizontally)?
Get credibility then plan strategies: Staying in a job too long makes you stale; while too quick a move shortens your experience. A rule of thumb is to collect all the skills, knowledge, abilities and results that are possible in your current role to establish your credentials, then develop the strategies to move on.
Target your specs: Assess the best kinds of companies for your skill sets. If your target companies are in the industrial sector and you’re currently in the consumer sector, consider how to best make the switch. Know which companies in your field are expanding versus contracting, or those that are searching for added strength in a specialty field like yours.
Focus like a laser beam: Don’t be pulled off course by offers that look good short term but will delay or prevent your ultimate goal. A high paying job in a remote location can be a trap.
Your career direction and pace are yours to optimize or impede. Make sure you have the longer-term strategy in place and working to your advantage.
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