What do you want?
Last month I wrote about the foundation steps necessary to manage your own career. This month I want to dig a little deeper and give you some practical steps for how to take control of your career.
It’s hard for a senior person to help you if you don’t know what you want. However, knowing how to articulate what you want in your career or even as a next move isn’t easy. First, be clear in your own view whether what you need next is to develop expertise or to broaden your experience. If you are not sure, ask other people whose opinion you respect what they would do next if they were you: deepen or broaden.
At some point, you will be ready to broaden your experience outside of your current product, function, division or region. You will then need help in thinking about what might be a likely next move. To make these conversations you need a goal. Think 10 to 15 years out, what would you love to be in a position to consider as a role? It’s far enough out that you are not committed to that goal forever and it’s far enough out that someone can help you think about how to prepare for it. And, you aren’t asking for a job now. You can afford to dream.
Consider the following questions: Do you want to be head of a unit or do you see yourself as an able number two? Do you prefer a functional role or a business role? Are you great with clients, or technical details?
Once you have a dream role, begin asking people the following: “If someday I wanted to be in a position to go for X role, what experiences would I need to have between now and then to be a strong candidate?” Knowing the answers to these questions is a great place to start with taking control of your career.