Finishing university at any age is an exciting time because you have your entire career ahead of you and you have a chance to set yourself off in any number of directions. With your qualifications behind you, it can seem as though the possibilities are endless. The trouble is that before too long, you will find that life can be challenging for graduates. With so many in a similar position to you, and the scores of people who are already in positions looking for better careers and lives, how can you take control of your career? How can you begin your career climb?
Start off with a deliberate strategy. This is a time to gain relevant, highly focused experience. And when you have to choose between roles always choose the one that offers opportunities to use your skills over a high salary. So to take control of your career, the first step comes with making a plan. Do you know what you want to achieve?
It is helpful to have a longer term plan, say over 5 or 10 years, but you should also be able to break this plan down into smaller time-periods. Having a short-term plan and clear goals will help you progress towards your longer-term plan.
Things you need to think about when creating a career plan for your career include:
• What you want to achieve in business?
• What skills and experiences are required to do this job?
• Who are the people currently performing these roles?
• Are there any barriers that may prevent you from achieving this role?
Once you have these aspects in mind, you will find that the following 5 ways can help you to take control of your career, even without working experience.
1. Make an inventory of your skills and determine what you need to move forward. When it comes to reaching the required skill level and experience you need to undertake a certain job, you need to know what you currently have and what you currently lack. This can be difficult, not everyone is comfortable at reviewing themselves, but this is the most effective way to minimise your shortcomings and move towards being the candidate that is ideal for the roles that you want.
2. Find a mentor. The best way to find out what it takes to achieve a certain career or position is to talk to someone who has achieved the position that you want. Finding a mentor can provide you with a shortcut to the path to your desired position. There are many variations on the saying but if you can learn from the mistakes of others to prevent you from making your own, it is likely that you will achieve success a lot faster.
3. Review your qualifications and add to them if necessary. Having made it through the education system the last thing you want to do is commit to more sessions of learning but it may be that you need additional qualifications or skillsets to achieve a desired position. If you are looking to achieve success, it may be that undertaking an evening class or a correspondence course while working is essential. Over time, you’ll also find that it makes sense to review your qualifications and determine if you need to add on new skills or upgrade your existing skills.
4. Network. When it comes to moving up the corporate ladder or achieving the skills and experiences you need to move forward in your career, you need to network and work with others. Networking is about what you can offer and looking to benefit from others and no matter what stage of your career you are at, you will find that networking is of benefit. Of course, when you are at the initial stages of your career path, finding the people who can offer guidance, opportunities and connections will save you a lot of time and effort.
5. Build a life and gain experience outside of the working environment. While it is important to be focused on developing the skills and approach you need for your career, you also need to develop as a person. It used to be that managers and CEOs would encourage people to shun their outside life and focus on work but in the current climate business climate, this isn’t a good idea. People want to work with well-rounded individuals. People who can apply other situations to work challenges, as well as know how to shut off from work when it’s time to socialise. There is no need to be the life and soul of the party but developing interests outside of work can be of considerable benefit when looking to develop a career.