The link bringing you to this article must mean that you are possibly a few years into your career and at crossroads in your career . You often think of what the future might look like investing your future years in the current company or the next ideal company. These 4 steps has guided me in taking the action necessary to achieve my first personal career goal.
Who am I?
The starting point of envisioning where you want to be in the next 5 years is to start by knowing yourself as a person. How well do you know yourself? Have you made a candid list of your strengths and weaknesses? Where are you on the energy level and how engaged are you to your work?Take an example of a young sales person who might have bountiful energy after closing a million dollar deal. Waking up everyday for the next full month not closing a single deal. We might face a similar situation before, where we might be fired up but once results do not materialize, we feel lost and jaded. Therefore, you have to recognize that what has changed was that you are not getting the right level of stimulation that you need. When you are facing this situation, you need to rethink your definition of success. Consider splitting up tasks and set up small milestones that you can chart to achieve the next large sales deal. This could be taking the effort in building 100 prospect contact list, calling 10 clients per day and then making 3 appointments per day. This would keep you on track towards building the next big success. At times, you might be too far sighted on the next big success and not taking action on the process that gets you there. So in this sense, knowing your current situation helps in getting the motivation you need to take you forward. Have you evaluated who you are today and how different are you 5 years ago in the same job/company? Or are you just in a temporary setback based on the current results that might not be ideal? If you have decided that a job/company change is really what you want, go on reading.
What can I do?
Are you in the right industry today? Are you happy with the role you are playing? I started out working in a company back office supplying products to a chain of retail stores which required a lot of late nights working on completing purchase orders using a primitive IT system. That did not really fire me up in the morning and I starting planning for the next opportunity. So think of what might light your fire up the first thing in the morning. The good thing was that part of my previous job responsibility was to meet with sales representatives to negotiate deals and I wondered whether I could be a sales representative in the future. That was one part of the job that I knew I liked, as I was meeting people and having fun building a human connection. Apart from that, one of my preferred work setting was to be out in the real world and not being stuck behind four walls from 9 to 5. So I did a quick search on the jobs available and looked at my social circle who have been in the pharmaceutical industry. From then I refined my search to be a pharmaceutical sales representative. That was me, how about you? What are the jobs that will be an ideal fit to your personality?
What are my options?
You can start like how I did. List down 20 options of the companies in your targeted industry. Notice that I did not mention the top 20 companies as it depends on your preferred work setting. You might want to work in a startup environment. So list down the contact of human resource from an easy online search. Have a reality check to test whether your resume gets employer’s attention because some of us tend to over reach. Apart from the traditional apply and wait, you can consider to contact the human resource executive responsible for hiring the vacant position. You can pick up the phone and reach out and if you have the right fit for the job, HR would be glad to assist you. Despite that, if you are faced with more than one company giving you feed back that you might not be the right candidate, you have to reconsider broadening your company search criteria. Try to look for different company characteristics, have you only listed large multinational companies? Have you considered small/medium scale companies which would be a better fit for you now and you can work to improve your skill set for the next opportunity that comes?
How do I get there?
After creating your list of target employers, you should either send in a traditional email, apply online directly on the target company website, job search engines or LinkedIn. Is your resume updated with skills that is listed in the job description? Better yet, think of examples how you have demonstrated the required skills in your current job. For example, if you are looking at a sales job that requires you to be a “people person” and your current job is an IT executive. Think of the example of how you may have pitched the $50,000 IT hardware upgrade plan to your head of department or the time that you dealt with suppliers which you managed to obtain a 15% discount vs. market price which saved $10,000. Although you might not be fully demonstrating the required skill, at least by giving a real world experience that you had in the context of the skill, you will increase your chance. It is definitely better than just outright saying you are a “people person”. Consider whether the example that you used was impressive to the interviewer by looking at the interviewer’s response.
All this while, you should continue to attend as many interviews as possible as the employer is casting their net wide. Do not make the rookie mistake of waiting to hear from the only one option. If someone told you that the employer is only interviewing one candidate at a time and waiting for a response from that one candidate, you would think that would be ridiculous. So why are you not casting your net wider and then weigh the options? Having said that, you must put your best foot forward for each interview to demonstrate your initiative. Research the company background and think of how the prospective company can benefit from your current work experience.
In summary, I hope that this will inspire you and guide you to take action towards your long term career goal. The journey continues.
Are you happy with your salary increase? Read this article on Average salary increase per year & inflation
Thinking of career progression? Read this article on Career progression: how long to wait for a promotion before looking out
Thinking of attending the next interview? Read this article on How to stand out in an interview? 5 ideas to make a good impression
Afraid to make mistakes in the next interview? Read this article on 5 common mistakes to avoid during an interview
Feeling dissatisfied with work lately? Read this article on Are you feeling disengaged from work? 4 simple ways to know
Thinking of how to choose your next job? Read this article on How to choose your next job? 7 criteria to consider before accepting