Just about everyone asks the questions “Should I check out the marketplace?” “Am I up to date and marketable?” “Am I promotable in my current job?” These are normal questions. The need to answer those questions are vital. The responses will be the solution to your future.
Here are some questions that need answers:
- What’s your career objective? Do you have one? If you don’t, any path you take will get you somewhere, but maybe not where you want to go. A career objective establishes your direction, not necessarily a title. A carefully researched career objective will set the tone, timing and strategy for decisions-making.
- What’s the first step forward toward your career objective? Your initial step is to identify the basic requirements to advance. Do you need an advanced degree? How about a higher-level certification? New experiences? Are you prepared to make the time and effort?
- Are you satisfied with your current job? Company? Industry? Sometimes a shift can accelerate your career. Which brings up the question of the transferability of your skills and experiences to the wider marketplace. Do you see your position the same or changing over the next 5 years?
- How do you define the activities/responsibilities that motivates you for higher performance? Working in an area that expands your passion will usually mean high achievement and recognition from bosses and peers. If you’re passionless, work will be a drag. What are the factors that energize you? Focus on those factors.
- What are the external factors that need to be considered? Timing of a potential move is important. Is the economy working for or against you? Is the marketplace for your skills and experience on the upswing or downturn? What’s the supply/demand equation for your skills?
- What is your strategy to either move upward in your current company or test the marketplace for comparison to the competition? Whether you’re looking internally or externally you have to have a plan. Talk with individuals who understand the issues, roadblocks and skills needed in order to develop a strategy.
- Is it worthwhile to test the market for my skills and experience? You always want to know where you stand. This can be done by researching comparable jobs, or one step up, through an internet search. Both a job search and compensation comparisons can be used to give you a starting point.
- What are the impediments that will cause a stumbling block for you? You must assess the gaps or holes in your experiences. A lack of key functional skills? A lack of confidence? Interviewing skills? Whatever the shortfalls are, you need to develop a counter. Work on your gaps so your overall value increases.
- Where will your support come from? A network of connections? No one can do it all by themselves. You need support from family, friends, colleagues, past bosses and references to make the case to potential employers.
An objective self-assessment will give you the answers to your direction and strategy.
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