Define Your Career Direction

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Do you ever feel stuck in your role? Not sure how to progress and take that next step? Do you look at others around you with a similar set of skills and experience and wonder why they seem to land their dream job while you get overlooked? Is it just simply luck?

Every day I talk with admin professionals who are at a crossroads and are not sure how to take that next step in their career. They might want to branch out and gather some more experience and broaden their skill set. Others want to progress to a management role but how can they get that experience. Some feel that they have more to offer and are being under-utilised but how can they show the value they have to offer.

When it comes to taking that next step in your career you can rely on luck; the stars aligning and the dream job landing in your lap or you can take a strategic planned approach. When we talk about defining your career direction, I think it is important to reflect, plan, practice and create opportunities. Our career success is not different to achieving success in anything else that we do.

If you set a goal to run a marathon I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t just show up on race day and run. You’d start by reflecting on where you are at fitness wise, you’d create a training plan, you’d practice many times a week to build up your running skill and you’d make sure that by race day you were well prepared to run that marathon.

Yet for some reason we don’t seem to take the same approach to our careers. In most cases we start to get itchy feet in our role. We start looking for jobs on online job boards, we submit applications, attend interviews (if we are lucky enough to get that far) and then we get knocked back because we didn’t have enough experience or the right skills. After a few knock backs, our confidence wanes, we start to doubt our abilities and we hit that career crossroads.

If you can relate, here are some critical questions you can ask yourself to help you define your career direction.

What’s my genius?

What admin skills or unique abilities do you have that come naturally to you. These are skills that you love to use, take great satisfaction in utilising and are your point of difference. These are your strengths. They are also skills and abilities that if you didn’t get the opportunity to use, there would be less enjoyment in your work. We all operate at our best when we play to our area of genius. If you don’t know what yours are it’s time to identify them.

What gives me satisfaction?

These are the things that at the end of the workday make you feel fulfilled, like you have achieved something for the day. For example, lots of people say helping people gives them satisfaction. I encourage you to really dig deep and “unpack” what truly brings you job satisfaction. Helping people in my role as a recruiter looks very different from helping people if I am a nurse or a gym instructor. What is it about helping people that really gives you satisfaction?

Where are my skill gaps?

Now it’s time to be really honest with yourself and identify what you are not so good at as well as the areas that you simply haven’t had the opportunity to gain experience in. Once we have this list we need to work through and identify if these skill gaps are going to hold you back and if so what’s the plan for addressing them.

What does career success look like for me?

This one can be tricky to answer and so often the first response I hear is I want to be a manager. If that’s the case that’s great but what is it about being a manager that attracts you and why is that what you want? I see so many people say they want to be a manager, they work hard to get there and then it is not what they wanted at all because it doesn’t give them the sense of success they thought it would or it doesn’t allow them to operate in their genius. You’ll have some ideas in mind regarding the direction you want to take with your career so work through those thoughts and really challenge yourself to pick them apart and understand your motivations.

These questions are the first step in helping you define your career direction. Once we understand these things about us we can start to build our plan for how we are going to get to where we want to be. Working through these questions can be challenging and sometimes it really helps to have someone question you and ask ‘Why? Tell me more about that.’

Taking this approach to your career takes time, effort and commitment however it’s a much better approach than getting lost at a career crossroads or waiting for that right job to land in your lap.

 

Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.

 

Disclaimer: The material contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. If you wish to act based on the content of this publication, we recommend that you seek professional advice.

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