Keeping Your Career on Track–The Easy Way

March 23rd, 2017

Keeping Your Career on Track–The Easy Way
Part 2

This week, we continue our career path topic and delve into the slightly more complicated subject of what to do when you either don’t have career growth options with the current company or you have options but no mentorship infrastructure to help guide you on your way.

Your current employer isn’t in line with your ultimate goal
This scenario can exist if there are no positions to grow into, if there is no turnover that would allow growth, or if your current employer is not the industry you’re interested in pursuing. Nearly every situation adds value of some kind to your experience and to your skillset, so this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump ship right away. Depending on your situation, you may want to have a talk with your current manager to let them know where you are. The open approach is ideal but not always an option, depending on your individual situation and the type of manager/supervisor you have.

But either way, start thinking about companies and opportunities that could be a good next step. Since you have a job and income to pay your bills, you can take some time to evaluate options and the next steps that will best serve your ultimate goal. Try to find companies that offer lots of room for growth so you don’t have to jump around too much to make steps up the ladder. And in larger companies, you would likely have a manager to assist you in reaching your goals.

You’re working with a difficult manager
Let’s say you’re working for a company that does have opportunities for growth, which we discussed in last week’s post; however, what should you do if your manager is not someone who is going to help you grow?

The most effective leaders get to know their employees, their strengths, and their interests. And with that information, they work with the employee to create goals and assist that individual through the career process. When this happens, the employee is happy, and the company is successful. It creates a win-win scenario. But what do you do if your manager will not be of assistance when it comes to your career? There are several possible outcomes, and there is no one blog that can really tell you what to do. But with that said, we can at least try to give you some ideas of where to start.

You may be in a situation where you can still grow within the company but will need to do so of your own volition. In this scenario, you would be responsible for learning more about the opportunities available, the process, and also setting yourself up with goals and a path.

In some cases, you may find HR to be helpful. They may be able to offer information about possible career options or even refer you to other contacts in the company who could help. Or within your department, maybe there’s another coworker who has gone through the growth process and can give you some helpful feedback. Mentorship comes in many forms!

The last (and most unfortunate possibility) is that you may have to find another job. While I don’t like to encourage a dramatic course of action like this, it’s also important to realize that your career path and career planning are a very big deal. If you don’t have a way to set yourself up for success, it will make the process significantly more challenging and will reduce your chance of reaching your goals. Don’t jump to this conclusion too quickly, but also don’t underestimate the value of your path.

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist

Keeping Your Career on Track–The Easy Way

March 14th, 2017

Keeping Your Career on Track–The Easy Way
Part 1

Feeling good about how your career is progressing? If so, then right on! Keep up the good work. But if you’re feeling like you’ve strayed from the path a bit, that’s ok! It’s actually really easy to get caught up in what I would call the daily operations routine, immersed in the small picture of day-to-day life. But when that happens, it can pull us away from accomplishing our career goals. There’s no time like the present, however, to step back and look at the big picture for the sake of some strategic career planning.

First step
Where do you want to be in your career? Are you dreaming of becoming a digital marketing manager, a senior accountant, or an HR administrator? As you can imagine, they all have drastically different paths. At the big-picture level, try simply to get an idea of where you want to be. And it’s totally ok for that goal to fluctuate over time as you grow. We’re not looking to etch anything in stone right now; we just need a starting point.

Once you have that goal in mind, let’s take a look at your current situation to see how well it aligns you with your career path.

1. What type of company are you working in?
2. Is your company in the industry that you want?
3. What types of opportunities do they have that could help you on your path?
4. And if they have positions that are conducive to your path, how likely is it that you could get one of those jobs? For example, if there is no turnover in those roles, it may be difficult to find your way in.
5. Or maybe your company simply doesn’t have opportunities. What do you do then?

For this week, we’re focused on the scenario where you have options with your current company. In the next installment, we’ll look at other scenarios, so check back soon to get the full scoop!

What’s next?
It’s time to have an open conversation with your supervisor/manager, if you haven’t done so already. This is where you set the scene with a mentor who will help with your path. When your manager has the big picture of where you hope to go, he or she can start setting the stage for you and guide you all the way to the top.

During this talk, ask about the steps and what the progression looks like. Take notes. Set up an actual game plan so you know what to do on a daily basis to keep the process going. They give you the tools, but you’re ultimately the one who’s responsible for actually making it happen. So moving forward, you’ll want to have regular meetings to check in and make sure everything is on track. This way, you’re maintaining the big-picture focus while also ensuring that daily, weekly, and monthly steps are happening.

And along the way, you’ll receive coaching and all the help you need to keep honing skills that will make you marketable for the next position within your path. This process of reflection and mentorship are things you’ll do all the way up the ladder. And someday, you may have the chance to pay it forward by coaching a junior employee with similar aspirations!

~ Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist

Handle that Next Job Fair Like a Pro!

March 7th, 2017

Ready to amp up your job search? Spring is just around the corner! In the world of job searches, that can only mean one thing—-time for job fairs! Let’s look at some simple ways to shine at jobs fairs and also brief you on how job fairs can be a helpful resource.

As always, our suggestion is to put your best foot forward. The rule of thumb? Dress for success! A typical job fair will feel like a series of very short interviews, so why not wear interview attire? That day, the job fair folks you speak to are going to chat with a large number of potential applicants, making it easy for them to forget their interaction with you. Interview attire can be a great way to really stand out from the pack-—in a good way. And conversely, it’s quite possible to stand out in the not-so-good way if you show up dressed extremely casually.

When it comes to expectations, it’s best not to have any. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework or prepare. Certainly, check out the employers ahead of time and make a list of your must-meet representatives. But going into the actual fair, expect to plant a lot of seeds having no idea which ones will grow.

By that I simply mean that a job fair isn’t necessarily a place where you find a specific job you would like to apply to. In your conversations, you can check with the rep to see what they have for current jobs, but a better investment of this opportunity is to have a conversation. The question about open jobs seems productive at first, but any job listings a rep has could change so quickly that you could spend time pursuing a specific role that ends up no longer available by the time you complete the application process. Or on the other extreme, you may skip over a company due to lack of interesting opportunities at the fair and then miss out a few weeks later if they suddenly have a job opening that would have been perfect for you. It’s impossible to see exactly what lies ahead, so the best approach is to assume that everyone you meet could be your next stepping stone into a great career.

What do I say?
Talk to everyone! As we mentioned in the above section, target your must-meet vendors but also stop by and visit with the other reps because you never know who will be able to help you. Ask them about their company, the culture, the types of roles they typically see come up, etc. And in having that conversation, you’re forming a relationship with the rep and letting them know that you’re not looking for a job; you’re looking for a career. So if something does come up on their website after the fair, you can apply for the job but then also contact that rep directly and improve your chances of getting in the door for the interview.

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist