#1 — ALWAYS BE CONNECTING
Ongoing career conversations are the best investment you can make today to support your career tomorrow.
Something I always remind my clients about is the importance of what I call the ‘ABC’ of developing their careers. To ‘always be connecting’.
While it certainly involves building your network, this concept goes beyond traditional networking, developing client relationships or finding mentors. It’s about strategically connecting with people in your network doing work you’re interested in. Then, having a conversation with them about their careers.
This practice is one I take my clients through when they’re wondering what they want next in their careers. It’s a fantastic way to generate new career ideas or test out potential pathways to minimise risk before making a career shift. But it’s also one I recommend you do on an ongoing basis — even if you’re happy in your current career and aren’t looking for a job.
Think of a friend or old colleague who you catch-up with once or twice a year. How often do you ask them what they do in their role on a daily basis? Do you know how they got to where they are, what their career journey looked like or what they’re working towards?
It never ceases to amaze me — or my clients — when they admit they’ve never asked their warmest contacts about their careers.
These conversations will reveal new possibilities or pathways you’d never otherwise have considered. Your contacts can also connect you to future job opportunities so you can grow your career organically.
When you have ongoing career conversations with your connections… you will become aware of the opportunities and pathways available to you in future.
#2 — DRIVE YOUR OWN DEVELOPMENT
Driving your own development is essential to create a career that’s fulfilling and sustainable.
It’s important to continually upskill and futureproof your career — even if you’re happy in your current role and aren’t looking to move. Given the pace of change, it’s no longer realistic to rely on your employer to manage your career. Taking ownership of your career is something you must invest in too.
Start by looking at how you can keep growing in your current role. Ask yourself: What are my development areas? Pinpoint some practical steps you can take to close these gaps.
If you’re not sure, identify the future skills you’ll need to be successful in your industry or profession. Or consider the foundational skills which will be important for any role or career path in future. Focus on developing these areas, such as communication or leadership skills.
When you are proactive about your career development, you will develop the skills you need to futureproof your career.
#3 — LOOK OUTSIDE WORK
I believe in addressing the whole person at work because your career and life aren’t separate — they are both part of you and impact each other.
Are you happy in your career but aren’t sure what new skills to develop — or how? Consider looking outside your day job too. Volunteer, find a board position or pursue new hobbies or interests outside work.
As a high performer, this will satisfy your need for continual learning and growth. You’ll also develop transferrable skills which you can use in your future career. Plus, make new connections who may introduce you to different career paths and potential opportunities.
Because when you focus on what lights you up outside work, you will support your long-term career.
As a high performer who thrives on having big goals and a clear plan, navigating quieter seasons of career growth can be tricky. These tips have helped my clients and I invest in our future careers and stay motivated — even when our careers are in maintenance mode. I hope they support you too!