Create your own path by taking your career into your own hands. Gone are the days of expecting a promotion just by putting your time in. Few organizations still adopt this model for career pathing. And the reality is so few people stay at companies long enough to follow a standard career path.
So how can you blaze your own trail and create a career path for yourself?
First, think about what you would like to achieve for yourself. Where do you want to go? What are you passionate about? Answer all these questions before you set out to chart your course. Seek out local associations, conferences that appeal to your vision and check out online courses.
Second, ditch the idea that a career path is linear. Embrace new and unexpected opportunities that may come your way. It’s OK if your career path looks more like a wavy noodle of spaghetti if you are learning and building your skills along the way.
Tips to guide you along the way
- Seek out the opportunities that may be available at your current company. Many organizations have job shadow programs, mentorship/trainee programs, certifications, and education reimbursement assistance. Don’t wait around for someone to stop by our desk and deliver your next opportunity. Doing a little hunting at your own company may turn up some great resources you did not know existed.
- Research the in-demand skills in your industry. There are many affordable online courses, and your company may even reimburse you for them.
- Hire a career coach, attend executive leadership training, or seek out a mentor. An external source can offer objective guidance based on experience.
- Get guidance from your manager. Work with your leader to discuss career development opportunities and volunteer for a stretch assignment.
- Network, network, network! Internally and externally. Engage with people in your desired job, talk to colleagues in a similar role and pick their brains.
- Create a vision board and manifest your vision. Live, breathe and dream it. You can make it happen if you are willing to put in the work.
Building your career takes initiative and can be a little scary especially when you feel like you may not know what you are doing. Do not worry, do it scared and learn from mistakes and failures. Invest in yourself – you’re worth it.