Developing Your Career

How To Take Charge of Your Career and Stay Relevant

By Kristen Leverone on June 13, 2012

The employment paradigm continues to shift.  Companies, seeking to increase efficiencies, are approaching staffing and the allocation of human resources in a new way – with some moving to a more flexible workforce model that enables them to quickly ramp up or down based on real-time business needs.  This shift has broad implications.  Employees need to understand the impact or risk becoming irrelevant.
Today, employees must approach their careers with the expectation that they’ll change jobs much more frequently than employees in the past.  In order to thrive in this kind of competitive work environment, it’s critical that individuals take ownership of their careers and look for opportunities to distinguish themselves. 
In his Talent Management blog, “Make Way for a Tough New Work Environment,” Marshall Goldsmith explains, “When your competition is already responding to a tough new environment by working harder and longer, you need unique tools to separate yourself.”

Think of your career as your own business.  Consider what investments you’ve made in your career to date and the ROI you’ve achieved.  What investments in your career do you need to make now that will ensure a high return?  For any business to thrive it must innovate to meet changing market needs, adjust strategy to anticipate changes or capitalize on opportunities, and make investments to grow and expand into new markets.  Apply the same thinking to your career.  What investments are you making?  What new skills have you learned?  What risks are you taking? Are you taking on “stretch” projects? 

Businesses also need to differentiate themselves from the competition in order to win market share.  So how do you set yourself apart?  Be sure to continually evaluate how you’re differentiating yourself from the (internal and external) competition.  Are you adding value to the organization?  Do you have quantifiable proof?  While achieving personal career goals is very important, you must always have an eye on aligning your aspirations with the needs of your employer.  How are you working to help the organization achieve its mission and goals?  How are you demonstrating you’re part of the solution to drive superior business results?  What steps are you taking to become a well-informed and versatile team member?

The most successful individuals are those who look around and say, “OK, where are the gaps? What’s needed that isn’t happening right now to help support the business? And how can I fill that need?” And then do it.

One Response to “How To Take Charge of Your Career and Stay Relevant”

  1. Marty Marcoux

    Jane, this is a very sophisticated approach to career management. Excellent article.


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