For many job seekers, career development usually looks a little something like this: search for job, land job, learn job, figure out how to make a career out of job. But you don’t have to wait until you’ve landed a position to start developing your career. Career development is a life-long journey and each job is a stop along the way, getting you closer to your ultimate dream. And, if you play your cards right, hiring managers should recognize your determination and quickly put you on their short-list for jobs that may help you along your journey.
Don’t just search for a new job; develop your career with these 6 steps (hiring managers, keep these 6 steps in mind when attracting and closing talent):
1. Know who you are, what you want and where you’re going – Then optimize for it.
Beginning your job search with a little self-reflection can be invaluable for your career development. Knowing this information will help you stay focused on landing the job you want – even after months of job searching tempts you to take whatever you can get – and optimize your career plan.
2. Be the best job seeker you can be.
First impressions start as soon as you click “send” on that resume. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by doing these five things now and managing your social media accounts. Hey, maybe Twitter will land you a job!
3. Interview your employer.
Your interview isn’t just about impressing your future employer. Use the information you came up with in step 1 to determine if the company is a good fit for YOU. Aligning yourself with a compatible company can increase satisfaction and engagement in your work.
4. Combat complacency.
Never, ever get too comfortable in your position. Always continue to make yourself an asset by taking on new responsibilities, learning new skills, and developing your soft skills, like interpersonal communication and handling conflict. Also, never stop networking! Join professional networks online and outside of the office. These connections can help you grow within your company – and outside of it.
5. Develop a career path with your superiors.
Understand their expectations and your career path within the company. With this information, you can ensure that you are reaching goals, exceeding the standard, while understanding what your future holds.
6. Know when to stay… and when to go.
Today, when career paths seem to change as quickly as Facebook statuses, it’s unrealistic to believe you will be at your first (or second, or third) job forever. And knowing when to stay and, when to go, can make or break career development. Jumping ship too soon could mean losing out on learning valuable skills and experience. But staying too long could result in missed career opportunities. Align your personal career plan with your company’s career plan to determine when the time is right for you to stay… or go.
So, why should hiring managers care? Hiring managers should use these steps to identify and learn about candidates who are serious about their career development. Identifying serious candidates during their job search can help them match the best employee with the best employer. And learning about candidates’ career development goals and dreams might serve them well in the future – maybe you aren’t ready for a specific position yet, but if a recruiter knows where you are headed in your journey, you could be the needle in the haystack they need later to fill competitive positions.
Thad Price is the Director of Product Development at Jobs2Careers.
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