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By Jane Mutisya
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable – said – Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Which career port are you sailing to?

When did you last do a career health check? A career health check is you assessing how you are progressing in your career. At school, we moved from kindergarten to college, then to the workspace. The path was clear, we knew when we failed and how success looked like. Though the workspace is fluid, the same level of vision should apply to our careers.

As a Recruiter and Certified Professional Coach, I have seen so many professionals struggle to justify why their careers have stagnated blaming everyone else apart from themselves, living a life of regrets. Allow me to share 3 surefire ways that come in; handy in your proactive career management process, applicable to both employed and self-employed professionals;

1. Have a career growth plan – pour yourself a cup of ambition, dare to dream, be uncomfortable with doing the same role for over 3 years. Manage your career like a business – aim to grow in responsibility and finances. The famous interview question on where do you see yourself 5 years from now is a strategic career planning question that every professional should embrace. Just like companies do, always conduct a SWOT analysis on your profile (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) combine this with the PESTLE analysis technique (Political, Environmental, Social, Technical, Ethical, Economical and Legal) to scan the operational environment to inform your career development plans for the next 5 or so years.

Using the Pestle technique, examine the sector you are in and how you are aligned to all these parameters. A good example is Artificial intelligence (technology) and how it’s changing most professions globally, are you aligned to the ever-changing landscape or will be caught by surprise? How is your turnaround time to your career threats and opportunities? Are you still watching and doing nothing? Having timelines on when to fully align will help you a lot and save you trouble in the future. Always include a risk management framework in your planning. For example, ask yourself, what would happen to my career if this company went down? What would happen if I was declared redundant or fired? Another important thing that should never miss in your career plan is a targeted continuous improvement plan – don’t just enroll for a course without properly thinking the why behind it. Don’t accumulate so many qualifications that are not aligned with where you are sailing to.

2. Don’t delegate the execution of career growth plan – As a recruiter and career coach, I have severally heard professionals complain about lack of support from their organizations and bosses. I have a million times heard the statement ‘here they only recruit from outside, here nobody recognizes my education and many other similar complains’. When your career growth is dependent on other people fulfilling their promises, people you can’t control, promises you can’t enforce, my friend the disappointment waiting for you is colossal, it will create so much resentment in your heart, finish your laughter and cause you depression. Always take promises of that promotion, that pay rise with a pinch of salt, whether documented or not, just know the promise may not always be fulfilled. Make your career decisions and take full responsibility for their failure and success. Remember if you can’t grow internally, the world has so many opportunities to offer you, but you must be fully equipped and ready to pursue them, they won’t find you in your comfort or complaining zone.

3. Continuously create bridges – While employed, learn how to manage up, focus on understanding your boss and other colleagues. Do an excellent job, exceed expectations and manage conflicts effectively. Your current job will form part of your cv later, your line manager and your colleagues will be your professional referees almost all the time you seek new assignments. See how to make amends with bosses that you might have wronged and in the future, manage those relationships with caution. In creating bridges, regularly do a network audit challenge. Who do you know and how can you add value to them? purpose to have meaningful relationships, not just parasitic one-off interactions. Take advantage of all those seminars that help you meet people that you would ordinarily not meet. Take your time and learn how to maximize networking as a skill. If you only know your colleagues and your family members, you have some more work to do. If you only keep company with a certain clique in the office – you have so much to do, start volunteering to those committees that help with creating serious bridges. Let your connections remember you as a brand – be known for something. Be deliberate about maintaining the brand visibility, this will create bridges for you.

In conclusion, conduct your career health check today and remember execution is the king.

Jane Mutisya, is the Managing Director at Career Management Centre. She is a Certified professional coach with a background in Human Resources Management. She is a speaker and trainer on leadership, Career Management and HR/people Management topics.


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