5 Tips to Take Charge of Your Career

Step by Step

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Your career is one of the most important aspects of your life.  It provides you with the economic means to live your chosen lifestyle, provides you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and is likely a large part of your overall social network.  Few things in business just happen.  Strategies are developed, tactics are executed and outcomes managed.  Your career deserves the same careful attention and management that you give to actually performing your job.

Although you may be employed by a company, your career should be treated like a business.  Your product is “you” and it your job to ensure that your product keeps pace with the changing market and that it is marketed to the right customer base with the right message.  In managing your career there are a few strategies that we can take from business and apply to career management.

  1. Innovation and continuous improvement – Invest in your value by keeping your knowledge and skills fresh. What skills can you add that will make your more marketable? How can you apply your current skills in fresh new ways?
  2. Competitive Intelligence – This includes business/industry competitive intelligence as well as hiring decisions and trends.  Knowing the industry and being able to identify trends is important as this can help you to spot unmet needs as well as emerging sectors.  Competitive intelligence will also aid you in demonstrating your knowledge to potential employers in the interview.
  3. Identification of Target Market – A critical aspect of career management is taking time to identify who would benefit from your unique experience.  Without clearly profiling your target, you will be unable to develop a clear and compelling market message.
  4. Strategic Marketing Plans – Once you have identified your target market you can develop a strategic marketing plan to reach them.  This is your roadmap for the route that you will take and resources needed to get there. A key component of your plan will obviously be your résumé.  Your plan however should also detail the tactics for achieving your goals – i.e. working with a career coach, contacting executive recruiters, networking.
  5. Unique Selling Proposition – What makes you different from your competition?  What unique skills, knowledge, or experience do you have that separates you from others?  You will use your USP to demonstrate to employers why they should choose you.

Your career represents more than your source of income, it is a significant part of your identity.  You have invested time, money and resources into achieving your current success.  If you are like most, there was a fair amount of personal sacrifice along the way as you pursued your goals.  Given the priority of career in one’s life it would be unreasonable to leave it to chance.  How can you position yourself for career leadership if you are unwilling to lead your own career?

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