Lay down your own career path

2010-04-17 12:00

As the economy begins to ­rebound, there may be unique

­opportunities for you to advance your ­career, either at your current

organisation or with a new ­employer.

You don’t want these ­opportunities to pass you by. Here are five

pointers to follow:


a leader

As organisations begin to restart projects that were shifted to the

backburner during the downturn, they’ll need individuals to lead these

initiatives. Volunteering for these assignments can be a good way to get

noticed, build new skills and demonstrate your ability to assume more


When opportunities arise, let your manager know about your

­interest in them. Even if the project in question isn’t the right one for you,

he or she may have other ­assignments in mind that are better suited to your


Just be ­careful not to get in over your head. Volunteering for

extra duties when your plate is already full can ­negatively affect your



for training

Think about how you’d like your career to progress and in which

­areas you might need to build new skills. For example, if you are an

­administrative assistant, you might be interested in learning about ­accounting

techniques so you can play a bigger role in managing your department’s budget.

With economic conditions ­improving, companies may have more funds

to invest in training and professional development opportunities for staff, so

be sure to ­approach your manager first.

Demonstrate how a particular course, seminar or conference will

help you and benefit the company.


a mentor

Getting to the next step can be­ ­easier with advice from someone

who already knows how to get there. ­Before identifying a mentor, ­however, make

sure you are clear about what your professional goals are and what you hope to

gain from the relationship.

These factors will ­determine whom you ask for assistance. For

­example, if you hope to earn a ­promotion, you might look to a ­manager within

your firm who has risen through the ranks. If you’re ­interested in switching

­careers, you might seek the counsel of a ­networking contact who moved from IT

to sales. Ask friends, family and members of your professional network for



Networking is an important ­component of any job search. But even

if you’re not looking for a position with a different firm, keep in mind that it

still pays to grow your network, especially inside your ­organisation.

Expanding your base of contacts can help you identify valuable

allies and establish connections that make it easier to secure ­resources and


According to a study by ­CareerXroads, internal transfers and

promotions accounted for an average of 51% of all full-time ­positions filled

last year.

Making sure you are well-known throughout the company could

­increase your chances of securing one of these opportunities.


up with new trends

Those who are best able to ­advance their careers have their

­finger on the pulse in the field so they can identify and take ­advantage of

new trends.

Remain in the loop of ­developments in your area of ­specialisation

by reading industry publications, web articles and blogs.

Also consider joining a ­professional ­organisation. These groups

often feature speakers and other thought leaders who can speak about new


Your ­research will also help you keep tabs on areas of job growth

– or contraction – within your ­industry so you can determine how much promise

your current career path has. Think about both the short term and the long


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