3 Tips to Proactively Manage Your Career

You spend a lot of your more productive waking hours at work, but have you ever devoted a significant amount of time developing a long-range plan to manage your career?  If a promotion or raise comes along, you are happy, but do you have a 2-year, 5-year, or 10-year career plan?

Take Tony, for instance, he was brilliant at his interview.  He seemed ordered straight out of central casting—energetic, bright, willing to learn and friendly. The fact that he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army meant he was likely team-oriented, task-focused, disciplined, and reliable.

He was hired to work in the warehouse as a laborer and promoted to distribution dispatcher in 18 months. He was great at his job and always received outstanding performance reviews. Now, fast-forward three years, he is now a foreman, though two of his buddies have been promoted to head foreman and one just made warehouse superintendent. What’s wrong with this picture?

Tony has been happy with the 3% – 5% annual raises, but he has more skills than most of his co-workers. Lately, he has started thinking about his career path and future, but wonders what he needs to do to be more marketable.

All of us want career success and satisfaction.  The trick is to take an unbiased, objective view of our progression. If you find yourself wondering long-range about your future, here are three tips to help you proactively manage your career:

(1) Assess where you are now and where you want to go with your career. Do the research for the next career level or enhancements to your current position. Address any educational or training deficits. Assemble any positive performance reviews, awards, and successful professional development trainings completed. Review your current job description. Think short-term and long-term.

(2) Objectively consider what unique value you have to offer a prospective employer. Put ego aside and take the recruiter’s perspective, why should anyone hire you? If the interview were tomorrow, how would you convincingly present your value?  Write it down. Make sure your statements are verifiable, authentic, quantitative, clear and succinct.

(3) Investigate your online reputation. Google yourself, most recruiters will. Pay attention to your personal online accounts, photos and posts. If you are serious about your career, take the time to establish a free LinkedIn profile.  Complete the information for each category.

Figure out where you want to go and map out a plan. Getting a branded, targeted and correctly formatted resume with supporting documents (cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, etc.) that are professionally written to help you find, elevate, or retain fulfilling employment.

A professional resume writer can appropriately present you for your industry and career objectives. You should manage your career proactively—developing a resume takes time and planning.  Update it before it’s needed.

Brenda Goburn Smith