Is your career path choosing you?


Have you ever wondered why some people's careers take off whilst others seem to struggle? The difference is predetermining your career moves.

Whether you are in a job you love, or looking for a new employer, you can take back the wheel and steer the direction of your career. According to Craig Bernhardt, Director of Temporary Services at Robert Half, people who plan their careers tend to experience greater satisfaction in the workplace and a sense of increased control over their professional destinies.

With a recent Robert Half survey revealing that 70% of Australian office workers put in between 39 to 55 hours per week, it is frightening that people could potentially be spending a third of their waking hours stuck in roles or aimlessly moving from job to job, without a clear course.

"Decisions regarding your working life should not be made on the fly," said Bernhardt. "Don't leave your career to chance but rather focus on continuous planning, assessment and the refocusing of your efforts through a career plan."

"It is essential that your plan is considered and realistic but also that it has the flexibility to allow for changes in direction. Negotiating an improved role within your organisation could be as valuable as being poised to take advantage of new opportunities, increased responsibility or making a lateral move," he continued.

"Take performance reviews seriously and use them as an opportunity to track your progress and identify your strengths. You should also ask those around you, like trusted colleagues and peers, and give consideration to any gaps in your experience that could be addressed through further training or qualifications," suggests Bernhardt.

According to Bernhardt there are several career check-points. Below are his tips for navigating through them:

Analysis - Weigh up your interests and skills, and think about your personality and values.

Research - Explore the occupations and industries that you would like to work in and assess whether there are any gaps in your experience or training that will inhibit progress.

Shortlist - Develop a list of target industries and roles. Be creative by writing 'your' next job description and then cross-reference it against advertised jobs. This will help to give you a benchmark of what you need to aim for and achieve.

Strategy - Set yourself achievable goals and milestones. These goals will determine whether you should stay in your current role or move onto a new path. Look at your line manager's job role and determine how close you are to performing that role. Focus on working to close the gap.

Planning your career is a lifelong challenge and Bernhardt recommends that, like updating your resume, you should make time each year to evaluate and reassess. "To safeguard a brilliant career, review, refocus and, if necessary, make adjustments to get back on your chosen course," concluded Bernhardt.