After discussing the differences between a career and a job in Part 1 here are some tips on crafting your career.
Some of this is about you creating opportunities for yourself:
- Mapping a path that shows what your career could look like;
- Getting work experience or project work or interning with amazing companies or leaders to get exposure to them;
- Building relationships and connecting with those that can help you get there (remember though that all networking and relationship building is about a two way street, look not just for what you can get, but what you can give back or pay forward);
- Deciding if you need to do any additional formal study and developing a plan for this;
- Reading up on an area of passion so you have deep, deep pockets of knowledge and expertise (today with all the free info on line and cheap books on kindle, it has never been easier to learn);
- Contributing to forums (online and face to face) where you can share what you know and learn from others and build more connections and relationships;
- Writing posts online, or contributing papers to conferences;
- Finding a mentor;
- Finding the right professional association for you and then regularly contributing to that;
- Finding a coach that can help you map a path and work through the inevitable challenges that present themselves;
- Finding volunteering opportunities on a board or elsewhere that extend your skills, enable you to give back and build relationships and networks;
- Deliberately deciding what brand you want for yourself and your career and then formulating that brand (remembering that all your online activity will contribute to your brand).
Importantly, it is also about taking the opportunities that present themselves. We all get presented with opportunities that can help and expand our careers. What differentiates those that have amazing careers is that they take the opportunities. They don’t listen to that self talk that will immediately give you a reason why it is not a good idea to do it (that’s fear talking). They take risks, even if those risks don’t always pan out. It is about putting the word out there that you are open to new opportunities (these don’t always mean a new job). And if you’ve been one that has turned down opportunities before, then starting afresh and letting people know that your circumstances are such that you are now very open to looking at new opportunities.
It is also about being clear on how much you want to work at creating your career. A career that you are proud of, much like a life that you are proud of, rarely happens without a bit of hard work and thoughtfulness behind it. There will be those who read the list above with horror. They just want to come to work, do their job, take their promotions when and if they come and be done with it. And that’s absolutely fine too.