Are you keen to advance your career?
Have you applied for a new role that could advance your career but with no success? Have you got a clear idea of what your ideal career might be however you are confused about how to get there?
When you are aware of what your ideal job may be, you have already taken a significant step towards achieving it. Many people would agree that clarity leads to success. You may be looking at a career jump and step into the Higher Education sector. You might already work for a university and would like to receive a promotion.
Identify what holds you back in your Career: Once you are clear on the type of job you would like, you need to look at what could hold you back from getting it. Ask yourself the below question:
What are some of the skills, capabilities, and experiences which I need more of?
Do look at the job description and imagine that you are the employer. Try to put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and see your application objectively. What are some of the skills and experiences you would like to see more of, from a recruiter’s perspective? You might need more technical skills such as IT, project management, or data analysis skills. You might lack some key soft skills such as presentation skills, time management, critical thinking, or negotiation. Once you have identified what skills you would like to develop, you would need to make a plan to fill that gap. There is a wide range of development opportunities you could consider such as networking, professional development courses, coaching and mentoring, degree courses, and volunteering, just to mention a few.
You might find it helpful to set some SMART goals and share your goals with others who could hold you accountable. You could share your goals with a trusted friend, colleague, or family member. If you have not used SMART goals for a while, here is a reminder of the SMART acronym:
S – Specific. Is your goal focused and clear?
M – Measurable. How would you know that you are making progress? What would be the signs of success?
A – Action. What steps do you need to take to accomplish your goal? Are these steps specific?
R – Realistic. How feasible is it for you to achieve this, given the timeline? Would you need to adjust the time frame to make it more realistic?
T – Time bound. Have you set a clear deadline for accomplishing it? Do you need to set any further milestones?
Bridge the gap: If you are considering a significant career jump, you could consider taking a ‘just for now’ position. This may not be your ideal role however the experience you gain could significantly improve your chances of landing your dream position.
Ella, who used to work for a university based in the Midlands, lost her job prior to the pandemic. Then she struggled for a couple of years to find a part-time, managerial position. Ella was very keen to take up employment again however she only found a limited number of management jobs in her area. After she has been to a handful of interviews, she received an offer for an academic support role which she accepted. Although this position was below her previous responsibilities (and did not include managerial tasks) she accepted the position. Ella did her best in her new position and was promoted within nine months. She now looks after a team of 5 support officers, and she is delighted with her new role.
You could take up a temporary position in order to be in employment again. This could help you to gain new skills and experiences and to avoid having a significant career gap in your CV. You could consider taking up freelance projects while you are applying or engaging in volunteering activities. New career options may open up for you while working in an interim position.
Use constructive feedback. If you are currently employed, you could use feedback from your manager and your colleagues to help you progress faster. If you have a supportive manager, you might like to share your aspirations with them and ask if they could help you reach your dream job. Feedback from your colleagues could be very helpful, as well as self-reflection. You could work with a skilled coach or a mentor to develop a bespoke career plan for you, Your coach or mentor could give you feedback on how to build on your strengths and how to tackle some of the improvement areas. For many people, it could be challenging to receive guidance on what they need to improve on. It can be hard to hear that we lack skills and that we should do better. Constructive feedback is based on evidence, and it is specific. It is based on specific examples and the feedback refers to what you do (as opposed to you as a person). If you receive generalised and vague feedback, you might like to question whether this is something you would genuinely need to act on.
Take advantage of your Continuous Professional Development (CPD): CPD can help you to review your learning and update your professional knowledge and skills. CPD is an investment in yourself. Through engaging in CPD activities, you can develop your confidence, gain new capabilities, expand your professional circle, and enhance your employability prospects. CPD activities may involve coaching, mentoring, work shadowing, courses, attending conferences, participating in professional networks and groups etc.
Remember to use Professional Development Reviews (PDR): PDR, sometimes called annual appraisal, is generally delivered once a year. This involves reviewing your objectives, discussing your career progress, exploring your aspirations, and setting some structured development goals for the following 12 months. You could build your relationship with your manager, and work towards developing your professional practice. In order for PDR meetings to work well, there needs to be mutual trust, transparency, and understanding between yourself and the reviewer. As a reviewer, you should have the opportunity to discuss your strengths and possible improvement areas and to receive honest feedback on your work. Your manager may put you forward for future promotions and give you stretch assignments to help you develop your skills.
Further tips to help you secure your ideal job:
- Applying for a Job – Top Tips
- CV Tips – 10 questions answered
- Prepare for all stages of the interview process
- What You Should Include in a Personal Statement