Strategising Your Next Career Move
And why NOW is always the right time.
Whether you’re in the early stages of your leadership journey or towards the later stages of your career, it’s worth thinking about your future.
That needn’t mean hatching a plan to move organisations, or change jobs.
But it does mean intentionally taking a beat to think about what you want next and where you want your career to go.
If you’re in a job that’s stable, remained unchanged for a long time, and that you’re happy in it’s even more important.
Because nothing stays the same, and the longer you remain comfortable, the bigger the risk becomes of staying relevant and employable beyond your immediate world.
But when you’re wrapped up in the pace of day-to-day pressures and priorities, taking a moment to strategize about your long-term career often falls down the list, and autopilot can kick in.
So to help you take a moment and think about where your career is taking you and what your best next step might be, here are six thought provokers to get you started.
Think long. You don’t need to have a five-year or twenty-year plan, but do take a moment and reflect on the trajectory that your current career is taking you.
Even if you’re in your 40’s or 50’s it’s likely that you’ll still have up to 20 years left in a professional working capacity. Not least because as much as the dream of retirement might entice you, many people when they get there simply aren’t ready to stop.
The steps that you are taking right now compound over time to take you closer to the direction you want. Or don’t want if you’re not paying attention.
Take a moment and think.
What would you like your career to look like when it has reached its peak?
What are the key experiences you’d like to have during your career?
What will make you proud?
Reflect: This piece deep dives into the questions that will help determine the next step in your career to get you where you want to go. Take a read and then answer the questions below.
How fulfilled are you, right now?
How are you learning and growing in your career?
Are you headed in the direction you want to be?
Get Tactical: Think about your answers to the questions above and what will start taking you in the direction you want.
What do you want (or not want) from the next step in your career? Is it a bigger salary, more travel, increased flexibility, a larger challenge, or a wider profile?
What kind of business and culture do you want to work in?
What are the common threads to the types of roles and businesses that you have thrived in? What makes them so?
Get Practical: Identifying your next step will give you clues and a basis on which to assess the practical things you need to do to get there.
What seeds do you need to plant right at this moment?
What relationships do you need to build/strengthen/reignite?
What skills do you need to learn? How will you showcase them?
Listen: To this thought-provoking podcast by HBR’s IdeaCast team that will help you create space for strategic career planning, even when it’s not the perfect time.
Ready Yourself: Exploring something new takes effort, motivation, and persistence. And if you’re burned out your exhaustion will be evident for all to see. So don’t wait until you’ve reached breaking point to consider something new.
The additional challenge is that when you see a new shiny opportunity on the horizon it can often result in breeding frustration with your current situation.
Ensuring you are in the best possible headspace to handle that is imperative. Not least because for prospective employers, it’s easier than you might think to spot a candidate who is running from something, rather than running towards you.
What are your instincts telling you about how you are right now?
What systems and habits do you need to build to keep yourself strong?
What will you do?
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