When the economy was booming, working hard and putting in long hours led to advancement in your job. If you weren’t satisfied with your position or didn’t like your employer, it was relatively easy to find another job and jump ship. If you did like your job, you stayed with the same company for 20 years and climbed the corporate ladder. This is becoming less and less the norm. Being with a company for multiple years no longer guarantees advancement, and it’s up to you to control your career path. Like a business, your career has assets and liabilities. It has customers (employers) and tougher competition than ever before. By applying simple business concepts to your career, you can plan and execute your route to success.
Understand Your Competitive Advantage Over Other Competitors.
In today’s job market, much like in business, you have to have an advantage over your competitors. Competition for jobs not only comes from other job seekers, but also from external sources such as technology and outsourcing. As you climb the ladder in your industry, you’ll find that your technical skills become less of a competitive advantage than your personal skills such as leadership and communication. If you’re head-to-head with another candidate for a software engineer position, you likely have the same skill set. The person who gets the job will be the one that is a better problem solver and communicator. It is important to stay up to date with your technical skills, but if you understand your personal strengths and can use those to sell your brand, you’ll have the competitive advantage over other applicants.
Adapt Career Plans as You Progress.
In business, you take time to hash out your objectives and develop a business plan. The same should be done for your career. Start with writing down your goals. Where do you want to be in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? Next, develop an action plan to achieve those goals. Most importantly understand that things are not going to go according to plan. You may get offered an opportunity that takes you in a completely different direction than your next “planned step”. Is it still going to take you on a path to your end goal? Adjust your plan accordingly as you progress to make sure you’re working towards your goals.
Strengthen Your Network.
Whether you’re just starting your career or have been in the industry a long time, there are people who have been influential in your success. Keep in contact with those people and use them as a resource. College professors, mentors, previously colleagues—it’s important to stay in touch with your network. You never know what contacts they can provide you or when you’ll run into them in a business setting later on. First strengthen your ties with your current network, and then focus on adding new connections. Force yourself to step outside of your comfort zone by attending networking events, conferences, and industry meetups or happy hours. Start your own event or a conversation with the stranger on the elevator. In business and in your career, you have to make contacts to win clients.
Take Proactive Risks.
There are times in your career where you’re faced with a choice that involves risk. Whether it is changing jobs, moving to a new city, or starting a business—risk can be scary. All great CEOs are also proactive risk takers. In order to be successful, being able to go out on a limb with your vision is a necessary skill. While risk can mean criticism and humiliation, more often than not it means opening up new doors to your talents, interests, and abilities.
Now that you know how to manage your career like a business, take the next step to advancing your career in Cleveland with Area Temps. With over 25 years of experience, our professional staff of recruiters can help you get your foot in the door with leading companies in the Greater Cleveland and Akron area. Contact us today and let us help you with your job search!