If you are in a position that you have worked a number of years, yet you feel you are stagnating in your career and not where you hoped you would be, you are probably not taking charge of your career, and tracking it as much as you should be. Career tracking means owning your career over a lifetime. It involves taking ownership of your career path, guiding it and creating it right from day one, this you can start working on as early as while you are studying.
Career tracking keeps you in charge of your development and performance and will assist you in measuring your progress against the goals that you have set.
You should start mapping out your career while you are still studying. By defining your career goals and objectives and keeping track of your progress, not only at the early stage of your studies and career, but throughout your career will allow you to set and meet work priorities and milestones in your career. Whilst studying there are numerous ways to track your progress including developing effective planning and study habits and time management.
Once you have finished studying, you can just as effectively track your career to ensure that your career development and progression is on track and that you will achieve your desired goals long term. By taking an honest open minded look at your career goals, skills, the knowledge needed to obtain these goals, and your related experience and personal characteristics; one can track your progress on your chosen career path.
Be open to change
It is essential to be committed to your career path and to always be on the lookout for ways to broaden your skill set. There are changes you can make that may speed things up such as being willing to relocate, being negotiable on package, also on the jobs you are prepared to do. Constantly track where you may need to be more flexible in order to progress in your career, and enforce these changes.
Focus on networking. Use all your resources in the corporate world, the more people you know, and that know you and like you, the better your chances. Many jobs are not advertised at all, but are filled through networking. Even with a really good resume and covering letter, you will have a better chance of getting a job if you know somebody who works at the company. Track how you are doing with networking, and do some research into where these contacts may be able to help you. Follow through with any changes that need to be made.
Keep your skill set updated
Keep your skills updated by studying as much as possible. If your company offers workshops that allow for further training and new skills, always grab the opportunity. Ensure that you prioritize your education, if you never went to college, it’s never too late. Sometimes having the experience is not enough and not having the relevant qualification can hold you back in your career, if this is the case, then study further. There are many colleges that cater for those who are working full time and have evening or weekend classes. Always keep up to date with whatever the educational requirements are that will help to further your career and track your progress as you go along.
Do more than you are required to do
The majority of jobs will come with a set list of duties and responsibilities, and these should always be prioritized. However wherever possible volunteer to take on additional duties and responsibilities. This will show your company that you are motivated, flexible and that you are open to doing work outside of your job description. Ensure that you keep track of all that you do and any changes you have made to your career.
Work on your communication skills
When it comes to career advancement it is imperative that you get on with your bosses, coworkers and clients. Employers look for employees who have a positive attitude and are able to work with people at all levels. Constantly reassess your relationships with those you work with. Keep track of any areas where there may be concerns or room for improvement and work hard on these areas. Good interpersonal relationships are key to moving forward in your chosen career.
Be a leader
In order to fast track your career, you will need to learn and demonstrate good leadership qualities. There are some jobs where these skills are not important, but the majority of the more senior jobs require good leadership qualities. These skills are especially important for jobs that would be in supervisory, management or directorship levels. It is up to you to be able to prove that you have good leadership skills, and you will need to be able to make difficult decisions, to be able to be objective, honest and to always stay focused, and to be able to lead and for others to be able to respect and trust you. If you feel you are lacking in these areas, track where you feel you are going wrong and work on building these areas. There are also training programs available for those needing help in learning the skills required to be a leader.
Ultimately there are many ways available to help you along the way in your chosen career, and tracking your progress along the way will help you stay focused, measure your progress and help to achieve your dreams and goals.